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Don’t Get Left in the Cold — Make Sure Your Hot Water Heater is Ready for Winter

Do you notice your water taking longer to heat up now that it’s colder? Are your showers lukewarm on the highest setting, leaving you shivering? As the coldest days of winter come around, it’s important to ensure your hot water heater is functioning properly to make sure you aren’t left out in the cold.

At Madsen Inc, we understand these issues happen. That’s why we recommend a routine inspection of your hot water heater at the end of summer or early fall so that you aren’t caught off guard with water that’s colder than the temps outside. But until then, here is a list of possible reasons that your hot water heater might not be functioning at its best, and a few easy ways to fix it!


Check the temperature on your hot water heater.

In the winter months, your heater is working harder to fight colder temperatures both outdoors and underground, so while the recommended thermostat setting is 120 degrees throughout the year to energy and ensure safety, this may not be enough to make your water feel hot enough in the winter months. Try adjusting your heater by 5 to 10 degrees and see if that improves performance.

Pro Tips:

  • We recommend reading through your device manual before making any adjustments.
  • Wait a bit after adjusting the thermostat to test your hot water – it usually takes about a half an hour for the heater to adjust to the new temperature.
  • Be cautious! Change the temperature only a few degrees at a time to avoid scalding.


Drain the water tank.

Sediment buildup in the water tank is a common problem. It builds up naturally at the bottom of hot water heaters over time and can reduce your unit’s efficiency. Flushing it out at least once a year can prevent damage to your device and keep it functioning properly.


Check the age of your device.

Just call us with your model and serial numbers, and we’ll check if your hot water heater is still under warranty, or if it’s ready for replacement. You can also send us a picture of the plate or sticker on your device, and we’ll look it up for you.


Check if there’s a lack of insulation.

Make sure your pipes and heater are insulated properly as frozen or busted pipes can wreak all kinds of havoc in your home. Good insulation also makes it easier and faster to get hot water flowing when you turn it on. Not only does that mean less time waiting for that relaxing hot shower, but as an added bonus, it helps you conserve energy, saving you money on your water bill. Our team can help you with extra insulation if this is necessary.


Inspect the heater for any possible damage.

There is a possibility that your hot water system could be leaking. We do not recommend trying to fix a leak yourself — give us a call right away to prevent waste and potential further damage.

Other things you can do:

  • If your hot water heater is in the basement or garage, try covering it with heater blanket. These specially made blankets can help insulate your tank in colder areas of your home where you can’t keep the temperature at least 55 degrees.
  • To keep your pipes from freezing (and worst, potentially bursting), turn on your faucet and let it drip a little bit on especially cold days. Even just a small continuous stream of warm water can help prevent your pipes from ever reaching their freezing point.


At Madsen Inc, we’re here to help you make sure your water is exactly how you like it! If you have any questions or wish to schedule an appointment, contact us today.