10 reasons on why your water heater is running warm water w/ solutions

Every chemical reaction that happens in your body is a function of the heat generated by it (okay maybe most), from breaking down of food to waking up before sunrise and doing a quick jog down your lonely street at 5 am– is only possible through heat and our bodies will fall like a pack of cards when heat supply is limited; plus there are revolting and threatening consequences that trail behind such instances which can potentially leave you handicapped.

Slice off the right amount of supply of heat for your body and you risk putting your health at risk. It’s no wonder centuries before now innovative minds dug deep down for ways to keep the body warm from the painful bites of aggressive cold temperatures. Their pursuit for a solution birthed the water heater.

water heater

Although England’s painter Edmond Waddy Maughan invented the first water heater in 1868, it was Norwegian mechanical engineer Edmund Rudd’s who tinkered his inventions, added a few modifications to become the first automatic gas run water heater.

Thankfully these inventions were rolled out in time, with simpler and easy-to-operate units now available today compared to the past.

Ferrying water in your pot from your stove top to your bathroom is just too frustrating. A commonplace before civilization crawled in. For others, the thought of it is yuck! But, with water heaters installed in your bathroom you have hot water readily available for use on demand. This exciting breakthrough has made life even easier.

However, what happens when you water heater hits a block especially when it supplies only lukewarm water? How can you get it fixed effectively or permanently? Can the components be replaced individually without entirely ordering for a new one? Let’s have a look from the possible causes noted below…



 we researched a list of 10 causes on why your water heater might be malfunctioning in this regard; However, you might need to have a look and consider how long you’ve been using the heater first, sometimes it could just be that your appliance is past its prime; To get more great info on this, we wrote an extensive article on the life expectancy, depreciation and resale value of home appliances. Nothing beats the feeling of getting the best out of your own stuff.

Asides that; there are many factors that can cause these. Below we have stated a few and how you can solve them.

  1. For gas water heater, if you cut the gas supply to your tank, that could be why only lukewarm water is running down from the top. When you do this deliberately or otherwise, the pilot light that indicates there’s steady gas to keep the temperature of the water constant will fade out. This in turn will drop the temperature, affecting your water.

Solution; to solve this, ensure the supply is restored, then turn the gas valve to pilot, and hard press the ignition button. For electric water heaters, it could be a cut to the power supply.


  1. Sometimes it could be just your faucet. When you notice that only a particular tap in your home is running warm water, it could be that the pipe connecting it to your water heater is clogged up.

Solution; to remedy this, you can get it quickly fixed by hiring your local plumber or simply do it yourself if it isn’t too difficult. Another way is you could use a plumber’s snake or loosen the pipes if exposed to unclog the dirt. Once done you are all set to have hot water running again.


  1. If you experience this during winter or colder months, it could be the water from the dip tube to the belly of your tank is too cold.

Solution; This can be resolved by increasing the temperature on the thermostat.


  1. A broken thermostat is another symptom. If you can’t get hot water, a broken thermostat may likely be the cause of your woes.

Solution; If after switching on your gas burner or flicking the power switch if you are using electricity, and the thermometer does not kick on you may need to have it replaced.


  1. Other times it could be a broken dip tube. As earlier stated, this long stretch of casing delivers cold water to the bottom of your water heater, which is heated by the lower heating elements. When the dip tube fails to do its job, water going out through the heat-out pipe will be lukewarm.

Solution; While this can be replaced, it is usually not worth it. Ordering a new water heater is a preferred option.


  1. When the temperature is too hot in the tank, the control circuit or safety shutoff is responsible for killing the power to prevent this generally. However, when this happens it could damage the control circuit.

Solution; normally, this can be reset if you water heater comes shipped with a reset button, but if that not the case, then replacing the entire control circuit means getting it removed and replaced. This is the best solution here.


  1. Another problem that is quite easy to ignore is the actual size of your water heater. Ideally a 30-gallon-tank is required for two persons. When you have plenty of guests or relatives over, this could put a strain on your water heater, and risk damaging any of it components.

Solution; to resolve this, you may want to get a water heater with a bigger water-holding capacity.


  1. A damaged pressure valve could also be the cause of your tank running lukewarm water. The pressure valve is responsible for keeping your tank’s water pressure at a reasonable mark. This ensures that water coming through from the dip tube will be able to thrust forward heated water at the upper third of your tank. When the pressure is altered due to a fault in the valve you may not get hot water at all.

Solution; This can be solved by fixing the water pressure valve or completely replacing it.


  1. If you tank doesn’t not have a regulating pressure system, you may want to consider replacing your plumbing lines with newer ones.


  1. Water heaters last a long time if properly taken care of. However, when they exceed a certain lifespan they begin to misbehave. Studies show that the average lifespan of a water heater is 7 to 12 years. If yours has lived between this range and you are always getting lukewarm water, then it is time to have it completely replaced with a new one.



The framework of a typical water heater has been designed for one particular function; creating heat. A passing thought about how it works is beyond the flick of a switch or pushing a plastic or rubber button. Understanding how a water heater works is helpful in sniffing out areas that have gone bad causing your tank to pump out lukewarm water or none at all before ordering for a replacement.

Below are some components of a water heater.

Tank: The outer layer of the tank is covered with insulating layer, and finally dressed with a fine outer shell according to APEC. Inside the tank is housed a metallic column with a protective layer which can hold up to 227 liters of water.

Dip Tube: You will find this sitting at top of the top. Like your throat which connects your mouth to your stomach, the dip tube performs similar functions. Water enters the dip tube from the top and is driven all the way down to the bottom of the heater where the water is heated.

Heat-out Pipe: Hanging close to the tank’s top, away from the center of your tank, this is the exiting channel for heated water.

Drain Valve: This particularly comes in handy if when you want to drain out the water in the heater completely. You can use it to flush out sediments and unused unclean water also if you are considering replacing the tank.

Pressure Relief Valve: This valve keeps the pressure of the water in the water heater in check.

Thermostat: Basically a thermostat regulates temperature and that exactly what it does inside a water heater.

A Heating Mechanism: The heating elements present inside an electric-powered tank are what heats up the water. If you opted for gas water heaters, the mechanism is different. Chimneys and burners are usually present.

Sacrificial Anode Rod: This can either be aluminium, steel or magnesium in nature. It helps to prevent corrosion from creeping inside your tank.


Knowing the parts of a water heater is essential in understanding how it works. That said, below is a broad picture of how your hot water is made using the water heater.

The Electric heater operates by using either one or two of the heating elements installed in them.  These immersed heating elements are usually controlled by either the thermostat responsible for regulating the temperature or a control module.

The typical control switch of a water heater is comprised of a reset switch should you exceed the heating limit, two thermostats-one at the top and the other at the bottom-heating elements, usually two and wires.

When powered on cold water is fed through the dip tube to the housed chamber of your tank which runs down to the bottom of the water heater. At this point the heating element which is usually made up of wires, sheathed with stainless steel or copper, is fed with current, energizing it.

The water at the upper end of your heater’s barrel is heated first, because power is first sent to the upper heating element.

The thermostat installed inside the tank is responsible for regulating the heat in the tank and sending power to the heating elements. Even though this may come preset, you still wield control over regulating the thermostat.

While you can raise it up to 180°F (82 degrees Celsius) select a base temperature of 120°F (49 degrees Celsius), it is usually advisable to leave it between the borders of 120 degree Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius). According to manufacturers, it is the ideal range for heating water. Using a lower range won’t put a strain on your finances. You won’t need to spend too much on clearing your light bill.

When the desired temperature is met on the upper thermostat at the upper end of the heating chamber, alternatively, power is transferred to the heating elements just near the bottom of the tank. This heats up the water at the base of the inner chamber to the required lower setting of the lower thermostat since you need to pick a temperature range for heating your water.

Once it has reached the desired temperature, the water will rise to the top, waiting to be collected.

When the heat water gets to the top, it is shepherded by the heat-out pipes. This is possible because heated water rises faster than denser cold water which settles at the bottom. Cold water is fed to the bottom of the tank through the dip tube from the top and the whole cycle starts again.

If your water temperature breaks the 180°F mark, the control switch to your water heater will automatically stop the power supply going to the heating elements.

This is a typically how a tank-style or tankless water heater works. Seems easy and simplied right? Exactly.



  1. Water heaters are great appliances for conserving hot water. Those that come shipped with a tank are a good choice if you find them rather catching than those that are tank-less. However, both of these choices still perform the same functions even though the latter can heat your water for you pretty quickly than the later.


  1. Water heaters are excellent energy savers. This means you won’t have to cough out too much for your billing. If you opt for a water heater that comes with a tank, you can expect your water to stay warm at all times until you flick the switch and decide to want something hotter. They come installed with heat regulators to keep your water warm always. For the tank-less models, they offer an even better option.If you are summering away at some distant location for a few weeks and looking to cut down on billing expense while away, they make a perfect choice. You only get hot water when you flick on the switch yourself. There are no regulators saving some water for you, hence, less bill.


  1. Hot water is readily available when you need it with a water heater installed in your home. The soothing sensation or relaxing feeling that a hot bath gives when it glides down your skin cannot be overemphasized. Warm baths are great for relieving stress after a heavy day at the office or gym. They provide a great start to a new day just like gulping down a hot cup of tea or coffee.