How to Get Hot Water Faster


When it seems like you have to run your sink or bathtub faucet forever before it gives up any hot water, it is a waste of time, money and natural resources. Well, you don't have to be an expert at home improvement to tackle that problem. There are a few energy-smart fixes that not only conserve water, but can let you start enjoying a hot shower in no time flat.

Things You'll Need

  • Pipe insulation
  • Utility knife
  • Foil tape
  • Flashlight
  • Ensure that your pipes are accessible either through an unfinished basement ceiling or a crawlspace. If they are not, then you may need the help of a professional.

  • Check the temperature gauge near the bottom of your water heater. Use a flashlight if necessary. If it is set below 120 F, the water heater just may set too low. Usually there is a knob with numbers or dashes towards the bottom of the water heater that has a red arrow indicating 120 degrees. Make sure that your heater is set at the arrow. Any higher and you risk scalding accidents.

  • Put a water heater insulation bag or radiant-barrier foil insulation around your water heater when the temperature is set correctly, but the water still takes a long time to get warm.. Be sure not to block the air intake for a gas heater or get too close to the pilot light access panel.

  • Apply foam pipe insulation tubing around your hot water pipes as well. Measure the diameter of your pipes and purchase the correct size tubing. The foam tubing has a seam cut in one side allowing you to slip it around the pipe. Self-sealing varieties have peel-off tape protecting adhesive at the seams. Just pull off the tape and press the seam together when you have the insulation in place. HVAC seam tape is available for insulation that is not self adhesive.

  • Cut the foil insulation at a 45-degree angle when you need to turn a corner. The foam cuts easily with scissors or a craft knife. Seal the joints and bends with foil tape.

Tips & Warnings

  • Insulate all the visible hot water pipes.
  • Insulate the first few feet of the cold water inlet on the hot water heater.
  • Foil tape is more expensive than duct tape but it does a better job in the long term.
  • Do not to block the air intake or pilot light for your hot water heater.
  • Foil tape can give you paper cuts, so you may want to wear gloves.
  • Basements and crawlspaces are dirty places so wear goggles and a mask if needed.

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  • Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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