If you cannot complete a simple shower with enough hot water, something is undoubtedly wrong with your hot water tank. An average tank should contain more than enough heated water for an individual shower, and if it doesn't, you may need hot water repair. Where should you start?
Issues with Age
Firstly, how old is the water tank itself? If you don't know, you may be able to look to see if the installation date is attached to a plate on the side. A typical tank will last for 7 to 10 years without too much trouble, but after that, things could start to go downhill.
Some hot water tanks have a glass liner inside. As time goes by, this can become damaged if sediment starts to accumulate or certain parts of the tank start to corrode. When the tank is new, a special part is inserted that is meant to corrode first, so that the more important components are saved. Once this sacrificial anode wears out, however, other parts will begin to deteriorate. The tank may also start to degrade due to the ever-present heat inside, especially if you tend to have it set to a much higher temperature. Eventually, that glass liner will begin to crack, and this could lead to a significant leak.
Have a look at the bottom of the tank to see if there is evidence of water. You can expect to see a drip here or there as this may come out of the pressure relief valve. However, if there is a significant amount of water, then this may indicate something more pressing.
Hard Water Issues
If you live in an area that has to deal with hard water, your tank may suffer over the long term as well. Minerals within the water can build up around the heating element, and this will significantly cut down on its efficiency. You may also begin to hear some strange sounds as the water is heating up, and this is another indication that you will need to get the tank repaired or replaced.
Bringing in the Expert
To get to the root of the problem, you will need to call in a plumber who specialises in hot water tank repair. They will have a good look at the interior of the tank and carry out any required maintenance. They will also tell you what to do if you need to replace the system instead.