Why Hot Water Takes So Long to Reach Faucets?

It’s very frustrating when you need to wait for a minute or longer to get hot water out from your faucet. Water is wasted when we’re waiting for the hot water. So, why it takes so long for the hot water to reach your faucet and how to improve it?

The reason why hot water takes so long to reach your faucet is that the hot water pipe length is too long. Overnight, the hot water that sits inside the pipe gets cold. By the time you turn on the hot water tap, the cold water needs to be pushed out first before the hot water can come out from the tap.

It is inconvenient when we have to wait for a long time before the hot water tap got hot water. However, there are ways to improve or potentially eliminate this problem.

How Hot Water Flows to Faucets?

Many people thought that as long as they have a water heater, they should be able to get hot water immediately when they turn on the hot water tap. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

After you turn off the hot water tap, the hot water stays inside the pipe. Then, it gradually loses heat and becomes cold.

Now, when you want to use hot water again, you turn on the hot water tap and the hot water comes out from the water heater but it needs to push out all the cold water inside the pipe first before it can reach the tap.

As you might have guessed already, the longer the hot water pipe, the longer you have to wait for the hot water at the tap. In addition, if the pipe size is bigger, you’ll have to wait longer also.

In hotels, it is absolutely unacceptable to wait for a long time for hot water, especially in luxury hotels. Hence, we need to figure out a way to fix the problem.

How to Shorten the Time for Hot Water to Reach Faucets?

If you’re frustrated with the need to wait for a minute or more to get hot water out from your tap, you might want to improve it with the following methods.

Introduce a Hot Water Return System

In hotels and other commercial buildings, we use a hot water return system to solve the long hot water waiting time problem.

Essentially, a hot water return system has a hot water return pump and a set of hot water return pipes to ensure that the hot water inside the hot water pipes is always flowing; not stationary.

The hot water return pump is small enough to just move the hot water around in a closed-loop when there is no hot water usage. So, there is always hot water inside the pipes.

The hot water inside the pipes will circulate back to the hot water storage tank and new hot water will be flowing inside the pipes. Therefore, whenever you turn on the hot water tap, you’ll get the hot water immediately (within 5 seconds).

However, it is not common for residential buildings and homes to have a hot water return system. So, if you want to improve the hot water waiting time in your house, you’ll need to use an instant water heater.

Use Instantaneous Water Heater

Instantaneous water heaters or tankless water heaters are the perfect solutions for quick hot water. They are often small in size and thus, can be installed right above the showerhead or basin tap to reduce the pipe length and shorten the hot water waiting time.

Storage water heaters also can achieve the same waiting time as tankless water heaters but they are often bulky and thus, unable to install at the most optimal location for quick hot water.

Tankless water heaters can also be installed under the sink. Such a location can provide you with almost instant hot water due to the short pipe length between the water heater and the faucet.

Insulate Your Hot Water Pipes

Insulating your hot water pipes can help to maintain the hot water temperature inside the pipes for a prolonged period of time. It is particularly helpful when you had to use hot water once every 20 minutes or so.

Still, insulated hot water pipes don’t prevent the temperature of the hot water within from dropping. After a few hours, the hot water will still become warm.


Hot water takes a long time to reach faucets due to the long pipe length. The cold water inside the hot water pipes needs to be pushed out first before the hot water can come out from the tap.

Introducing a hot water return system can greatly shorten the hot water waiting time. For homes, using instantaneous tankless water heaters can also help mitigate the problem.

If you have anything to add (or ask) about this topic, leave a comment down below!

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