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  • Elizabeth Kenney

Too Much Or Too Little Heat: Making Sure Your Water Heater Is Just Right

Whether you are Goldilocks or not, we all want the water to come out of our faucets at just the right temperature.


As The Spruce explains, determining why your water heater is producing too much or too little heat is can be accomplished with the following tests:


Too Little Heat

Check that your unit is appropriately sized to meet your home’s hot water needs. Often the reason a water heater does not produce the appropriate amount of hot water is because the unit is too small to meet your household’s needs.

To check the capacity, simply confirm what the unit’s water capacity is and note that 75% of the water heater’s capacity should be allocated to hot water.


Don’t want to install an entirely new unit with a larger capacity? Try these adjustments first:

1) limit the length of hot showers, 2) install a low-flow showerhead, and 3) rather than operate both dish-washing and laundry-washing machines at the same time, spread these out during the day.


Another reason your unit is not producing enough hot water could be the result of a mechanical issue. It is possible that one or both of the heating mechanisms failed.


Typically, a sign that the upper heating element is defective is a consistent supply of lukewarm water, as opposed to hot water. Similarly, a sign that the lower heating element is defective is when hot water quickly runs out during a shower.


Too Much Heat

This issue is likely the result of the thermostat settings. Anywhere 115°F and 125°F is the recommended thermostat setting. Checking your settings is fairly simple:


To do so, first, turn off the power on your water heater’s service panel. Second, from each heating element, remove the access panel, insulation, and plastic safety guard. Next, use a non-contact voltage tester to test the wires to confirm the power is off.


Then, confirm that the heat settings on both thermostats are set to the same temperature. If needed, use a flathead screwdriver to adjust the temperature on both thermostats to the desired setting. Next, for each heating element, replace the safety guard, insulation, and access panel. And finally, turn on the heater’s circuit breaker.

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