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Hot water heater by Erin (CA) on November 25, 2009 @02:02

Hello, the hot water in my shower literally lasts five minutes, or less if I do the dishes first. The water heater is very small and there is no way to change the settings because it is enclosed in a plastic box. I'm wondering if the lack of hot water makes the unit uninhabitable?
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Re: Hot water heater by Anonymous on November 25, 2009 @06:14 [ Reply ]
Did you call the landlord? Maybe they can fix it before you condemn the place.
Re: Hot water heater by A.T.SF (CA) on November 25, 2009 @06:55 [ Reply ]
I wouldn't throw in the towel just yet. Considering the water situation in California right now a 5 minute warm shower is no so bad. I understand however that you might like a few more minutes of warm/hot water. Give the LL a request for repair in writing indicating that the hot water heater is allowing only 5 minutes and request that repairs or service be made to the water heater. Give the LL a reasonable amount of time to try to resolve the issue. This issue will not deem the unit uninhabitable just a bit uncomfortable.
Good Luck
Re: Hot water heater by Anonymous on November 25, 2009 @09:05 [ Reply ]
Additionally, do you have a water saver shower head? That allows less water to flow per minute and would allow the hot water to last longer.
Re: Hot water heater by Micah on November 25, 2009 @09:07 [ Reply ]
It depends on the hot water heater. My first apt outside of college had a very small hot water tank that fit under the kitchen counter. I had the same problem. I couldn't even fill the tub. What I did was get an ultra water efficient showerhead from Lowes for 20 bucks. It used 1/2 of the water of the regular low flow heads. After that my showers were able to go a lot longer.
Re: Hot water heater by Anonymous on November 25, 2009 @09:37 [ Reply ]
Hot water is a health and safety issue. Call the health department and see what they say they can do. Hot water is required by law.
Re: Hot water heater by K (FL) on November 25, 2009 @10:16 [ Reply ]
Somebody call the waaaaaaaahmbulance! I have a device on my son's shower that allows him to take only a 5 minute shower, no longer.
You don't have a lack of hot water, you merely have a small water heater. Perhaps you should have thought of this before you signed the lease?
Re: Hot water heater by Anonymous on November 25, 2009 @10:37 [ Reply ]
No matter how you cut it the hot water is inadequate. Whatever kind of water heater the tenant has you can bet the landlord does not have the same kind at his house. Why? Because it is inadequate.
Re: Hot water heater by VA Landlord (VA) on November 25, 2009 @11:13 [ Reply ]
Also, let's not forget that the water heater could simply be broken. If it is a two-element electric water heater and the lower element shorted (often due to accumulated mineral deposits on the bottom), then only the top part of the water heater gets hot.

Does it say how many gallons the water heater is on the outside of the tank?

Re: Hot water heater by A.T.SF (CA) on November 25, 2009 @14:01 [ Reply ]
After returning to the forum and reading your answer from earlier...I say cut your losses and move.
Ah the life of the inner city ;>)
Re: Hot water heater - Somethings Wrong! by Eve (IL) on November 25, 2009 @14:44 [ Reply ]
Erin, I feel for ya, as I woman I shave my legs my hair is longer (then most men anyway). To me it does sound like there is a problem with the water heater.

I have vacation property very small cabin with a small under the kitchen counter water heater. Doesn’t hold a lot but I am able to wash, rinse & shave before the hot runs out. I rush knowing it won't last as long as it does at home but I know I have more than 5 min.

Have you talked to the LL? If you haven't spoke to the LL, do that first if talking gets no action put your request for maintenance in writing. Hopefully that will get you some action. Good Luck!

Re: Hot water heater by Sam (NY) on November 25, 2009 @18:43 [ Reply ]
No it does not make it uninhabitable.
You are able to live there and you are able to get 5 minutes of hot water which hardly makes a unit uninhabitable.

Your hot water probably is heated with a hotwater coil that works off the furnace. That is very common.
Many systems require you to run the hot water at a moderate flow and not on full force which will deplete the hot water very fast and cause the system to be unable to heat the water fast enough.
In my apartment we had to run the hot water at a little more than a trickle until the owner installed a separate water heater.

Re: Hot water heater by xxx on November 29, 2009 @12:34 [ Reply ]
no, and if you care about the environment at all you should not be taking such lengthy showers
Re: Hot water heater by xxx on November 29, 2009 @12:42 [ Reply ]
that was a bit of a joke reply, but translating from tenant to english, "literally five minutes" means 20-30 minutes at full blast

if there really is a problem, then it could be

1) a build-up of sludge in the bottom of the hot water tank, blocking the lower heating element (if the heater is electrical). This may be solved by draining & refilling the tank a few times.

2) a broken heating element (if the heater is electrical)

3) if it is a gas or oil heater, the burner is gunked up

4) the thermostat is set at too low of a setting. This is tricky, since for safety purposes (especially if kids or old people are around), you are required to set it to a fairly low temperature.

5) the heater is not big enough.

It depends on the quality of the rental, but a good rental should have a good supply of hot water. In our buildings, we have high capacity gas fired hot water heaters, set at as high a temperature as the law allows, and people are pretty happy about it.

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