Why Is My Water Heater Constantly Running?

In the average home, the water heater will run for about three hours each day. Total run time can range from one to two hours for new tankless water heaters to five or more hours for older tank style water heaters. If you find your water heater constantly running, Grove Heating & Cooling explains some reasons why this happens and what needs to be done to stop your water heater from wasting energy.

Reasons Behind a Water Heater That’s Constantly Running

When you have a water heater constantly running, it could be due to one (or more) of the following causes.

1. It’s Leaking

Water heater leaks are frequently behind water heaters that run constantly. When a water heater leaks, the leak essentially drains the hot water tank, and the system loses hot water. If you find signs of a leak, call your plumber right away to schedule water heater repairs. Depending on the source of the leak, repairs may be possible or replacing the water heater entirely may be recommended.

2. It’s Not Well Insulated

Another common reason for a water heater that runs too frequently is that it is losing heat due to a lack of insulation. When the water heater isn’t properly insulated, a great deal of heat can be lost from the stored hot water inside. This forces the system to run more in order to maintain the desired temperature of your hot water. 

Solving insulation issues can be done in a number of ways. You can purchase and install an insulation blanket that fits around the unit, which will help it better retain heat. Or, it may be time to upgrade if your hot water heater is an older model. Buying a new water heater can get you a system that has better insulation for increased energy savings.

3. There’s Sediment in the Tank

Sediment buildup may be the reason you have a water heater constantly running. Over time, minerals in your water can settle at the bottom of the tank and form a sludge. This sludge can then block the heating element, preventing the water from heating up to the appropriate temperature. The water heater will run more often because it must work harder to keep water warm despite this blockage.

If you regularly drain the tank for maintenance, this issue can be solved by simply flushing your unit. However, you don’t want to do this task if you have never done so before and your water heater is older. At this point, that sediment may be blocking cracks in the lining, and flushing the tank can create irreversible leaks.

4. The Water Heater Is Old

If your water heater is older, it’s likely that its functionality has diminished over time. The age of a water heater is one of the most common reasons for it to constantly run. At this point, repairs are unlikely to correct the issue and it is best to replace the system.

Water Heater Repairs in Maryland

When you notice a water heater constantly running, don’t ignore this plumbing problem. Call Grove Heating & Cooling to schedule service with our licensed plumbing team.