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Not Enough Hot Water to Fill a Bath

I mentioned in a previous post how we hadn't tested out the hot water yet, or the central heating system. Why? Well, why not. We have an electric shower and thus by not using hot water elsewhere we save money. But of course, we needed to test it at some point, and at some point we will actually need to use it. So we decided to do just that, test it.

We have a hot water tank very different to what we're used to from our old house. Our new airing cupboard, in this house has three tanks in it, (three?!) which baffled me, and still does to be honest. Two makes sense, the third not so much. But let's focus on the bottom tank, it's made from copper and is used to heat cold water. These are known as immersion heater, or hot water tanks. This one's an 'indirect' cylinder, which to my knowledge basically means the heat is sourced externally, usually via a boiler, but they can also be powered by electric too, as a sort of 'back-up'. Our boiler is over 20-years old, and isn't your standard idea of a boiler. The 'technology' (if you can call it that) is old and the whole system needs re-adjusting. After testing it out a couple of times, I deemed it unsafe to use until serviced and it remains firmly switches off. Mainly because I'm over-paranoid - I have no doubt the old-lady who lived here previously didn't use it year on year, but apparently I'm not so fearless. For this reason, we're heating the tank with electric to test.

So, long intro aside, we tested it out. It made no noise what-so-ever. Our old water tank was noisy as hell, and I actually thought this was standard. Turns out, there's such a think as silent-heating! Crazy. It also heated ridiculously fast! Our old system took about 2 hours, this one takes around 20-30minutes. On the downside, once the system is turned off, that heat in the water is lost very fast, which makes it not very energy efficient and also a complete waste of money if you don't use all the hot water. The biggest downside to hot water tanks is that you don't have hot water on demand, only the amount that's in the tank, which obviously is limited. So the biggest question for me was, how limited? Well, this limited.


That's how full I could fill a bath with our current amount of hot water, obviously there's some cold water in there too, but still not enough for a decent bath, I tell you! I researched and researched, and at first, the only options I could find were:

1. Fit a bigger hot water tank.
2. Get a combi-boiler which essentially gives you hot water on demand.

Both a fairly pricey option, considering this water will only ever be used to heat a bath, of which, I don't have many. But then I found this article..

To sum it up: (in-case you don't want to read)
- Turn up your thermostat on the hot water tank so your water is much hotter.
- This wont give you more water, but it means you will need to add more cold water to the bath to cool it to a useable temperature, thus meaning your bath will be more filled.

Genius!

The article goes on to suggest using a tempering valve, which will automatically feed cold water at the same time as the hot water through the hot water tap. Does that make sense? That way you wont be scolded with ridiculously hot water. An essential really for anyone, but especially those with kids. And the idea is the exact same concept as the one above, just much much safer.

Well, firstly, I didn't even know hot-water tanks had thermostats. That's probably pretty dumb of me.. but where is it? Well, it's in this part, placed on the top of ours..



Unscrew it, open it up and voila! All you need to do is use a screwdriver to turn the dial to the appropriate temperature.


Your thermostat should be set to 60° as this is the recommended temperature. Ours was actually only set to 50° (it's written in Fahrenheit on ours), so we romped it up to 70°. The difference was huge, at 50°, whilst it was still very hot, it was touchable and there was no steam, you could easily fill a bath and step in it comfortably using no cold water. At 70° it's not possible to touch for very long, it's too hot to use on its own., and it gives out plenty of steam. So after filling the bath, adding some cold water to make the overall bath temperature usable, this was the final result:


Much more water! Although this photo doesn't do it justice... Bearing in mind this bath is actually quite large (or at least, compared to our old bath!), and that obviously you need to consider the water displacement from putting your body into the bath, I think this amount of water is pretty darn reasonable. We'll probably get a slightly smaller bath when we come to purchase one, that way it should certainly be filled. Problem solved, at the cost of absolutely nothing. I love the interwebs. This is definitely an idea I wouldn't have thought of on my own, even thought it's so simple, obvious, and a smack in the face.

Obviously, anyone out there who reads this, do use the tempering valve idea - hot hot water is dangerous. I'm pretty sure we'll add one on too eventually. But for now, this was just a test of how much hot water we could get.

6 comments

  1. In case you're home dependably appears to come up short on hot water rapidly,your first approach ought to be to make a couple energy-conserving strides.Flush the water heater.With gas-fired heaters,that evacuates sediment that is meddling with warmth transfer from the flame to the water above.While it doesn't enhance electric water heater performance as much as it does with gas,it doesn't hurt to flush an electric appliance.

    ~Laura Smith.

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  2. Thanks for the heads up! If you need help in plumbing and heating, you can try and contact www.stevenageplumbers.com.

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  3. That is a problem. Many people like having a hot bath as a form of relaxation. Being unable to enjoy that can leave you feeling frustrated. If your current heater cannot supply enough hot water for your needs, you will have to get one that stores more hot water or can heat the water at a faster rate to have your bath.

    Wilfred Andrews @ LB Plumbing and Heating

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  4. Thanks for the helpful info. We used to live in a house with a water tank like this and had the same problem. I didn't know the temperature could be adjusted but will remember for future as you never know when it may be useful. I wonder if it would work out cheaper to do this with our boiler? Heating less water but to a higher temperature might work out cheaper.

    Samuel @ JS Gas & Property Services

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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