For many people, the holiday season is a time for hosting extended family and close friends for days at a time. These visits are a blessing, bringing people together who you may not get to see throughout the rest of the year. But they can quickly become a curse if you’re the last person to shower in the morning and halfway through your shower you get hit with a sudden spray of ice cold water when the hot water runs out. To make this holiday season as cozy as possible for you and your guests, here are some tips for how to avoid running out of hot water.
How to Avoid Running Out of Hot Water
1. Know your limits. Respect your limits.
A home water heater will range from 30-80 gallons depending on the size of the house. Typically, a water heater can only dispense 2/3 of its capacity before cold water begins to dilute the supply and the tank needs to refill. The average adult uses about 10 gallons of water per shower (at a rate of 2 gallons of water per minute). If you assume that an 80-gallon tank has about 55 gallons of hot water to dispense before refilling, that means you have 27 or so minutes of total shower time before running out of hot water.
Of course, if you have a tankless water heater, you don’t have to worry about this at all.
2. Calculate your refill time.
Numbers are power. If you know how long it takes to run out of hot water and how long it takes to replenish the supply, you can time your showers so that you never get caught suffering the shock of cold water. A 50-gallon water heater will typically take 20 minutes to refill and another 20 minutes to reheat back to the base temperature. If you have a larger water heater, you should plan for it to take even longer, at least 60 minutes total. So if you’re eating breakfast and hear Aunt Jodie shrieking when the shower goes cold, you’ll know to wait at least an hour to take your turn!
3. Schedule showers accordingly.
When you have a house full of guests, your best plan of action to avoid running out of hot water is to arm yourself with this knowledge and devise a shower schedule that will space showers so that no one gets stuck taking a cold shower and the water heater is given plenty of time to reheat between rounds. Talk to your houseguests ahead of time to determine who prefers morning showers and who’s happier showering in the evening, then create a schedule that makes everyone happy!
Showers aren’t the only thing to worry about when you’re hosting a house full of guests during the holidays. If you’re hosting Christmas dinner this year, make sure you’re aware of Kitchen Safety Tips for the Holidays as well as 4 Tips to Prevent Oven Disasters. It also wouldn’t hurt to brush up on Holiday Lights Safety Tips before decorating in order to prevent fires and other hazards from electrical holiday decorations.