LESLIE: Sherry, you’re on The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
SHERRY: I was calling – I’m having trouble with my hot water heater or hot water in my home.
SHERRY: When I get in the shower – and I don’t take long showers at all – by the time I’m ready to wash the conditioner out of my hair I’m running out of hot water.
TOM: What kind of water heater do you have right now?
SHERRY: You mean brand name or …?
TOM: Is it gas? Is it …?
SHERRY: Gas, uh-huh. It’s …
TOM: It’s gas? And how old is it?
SHERRY: I don’t know.
TOM: Really old? Like 10 years plus?
SHERRY: Probably so, yeah.
TOM: Well, you certainly shouldn’t be running out of hot water that quickly? So that sounds to me like the gas valve has malfunctioned and it’s not really doing the job it should be doing. You know, normally, if you have like a minimum-size gas water heater it’s going to be 40 gallons; it could supply 30 to 40 gallons of hot water per hour and certainly you’re not using that much in the shower. So it sounds to me like your water heater is not functioning correctly. You might want to check the valve and make sure it’s set correctly. You want to have the water coming out at about 110 degrees; not any hotter because you could get scalded. If the valve is set correctly and still not – you’re still running out of hot water that quickly, then you’re probably going to need to replace the valve or replace the water heater.
LESLIE: What’s the general life span on a water heater?
TOM: Ten to fifteen years, for the most part. And if you’re going to replace it, take a look at the new tankless water heaters. They’re a little more expensive to put in but a lot more efficient for the long haul.