Why does my hot water system struggle in winter and run out of hot water more?

It’s the middle of winter and you’ve jumped in the shower expecting your body to be hit with steaming hot water, only to be greeted with a lukewarm drizzle. This is a very common and frustrating problem, and we often get calls during winter asking “Why do I have less hot water?”

Have you ever wondered why you run out of hot water more in winter or why your hot water doesn’t seem hot enough? 

There are a few reasons why you seem to have less hot water during winter.

Firstly when the season changes, so does our behaviour. With the colder atmosphere, we tend to want hotter water and spend longer in the shower trying to warm up. The hotter we have the shower the less cold water we are using, which means the hot water system is working harder to keep the hot water coming. Also, when we spend longer in the shower the hot water will eventually run out. 

Secondly, hot water systems rely on heating the cold water in the tank to a set temperature. The ambient water temperatures in winter are lower, which causes the hot water system to work harder and longer to reach that set temperature. The colder the water the longer it will take to heat up. So, while you may think your system isn’t working properly – it is just taking a little longer to heat because of the chilly weather that is keeping your tank water colder. 

If you feel like you don’t have any hot water most of the time or you’ve experienced a dramatic change in water temperature, there may be an issue with your hot water system. Winter in Australia is traditionally the most common time for electric hot water systems to fail.

So why does our hot water system fail?

Here are the top two reasons your hot water system has failed.

  1. The heating element and thermostat. As the colder weather sets in and our hot water systems start working harder for longer, the first thing to fail is the heating element and thermostat. If you haven’t had these replaced yet, or if it’s been a long time, you’ll know that this is most likely the reason for your low hot water quality. Your X Factor plumber will be able to test and repair these for you. 
  2. Tank failure. Sometimes there is a failure in the tank itself. Overheating, connection leaks, loose element bolts, faulty gaskets, faulty valves, incorrect water pressure, and more can contribute to the failure to your tank. Hot water system maintenance should be completed every six months to avoid any failures. Maintenance should include a pressure and temperature relief valve check, and a cold water expansion valve check. Your X Factor plumber will be able to carry out maintenance on your system. 

X Factors Tips on how to make sure your hot water is ready for winter.

Toowoomba Plumber


With winter on its way, you are no doubt dreading those disappointing hot showers and hoping to keep your family warm and happy.

You can avoid having to scream at the kids to “Get out of the shower!” with a simple hot water system check over.

So before the cold winter days arrive and you’re left with no hot water, give us a call. An X Factor plumber will be able to come out and give your system a check over before you are all fighting over who gets the ‘first shower’.