If you love to take long, hot baths to soothe your aches or just to relax, you'll probably notice right away when your water heater doesn't put out as much hot water as it used to. You might have enough hot water for a shower, but if you can't enjoy long baths, call a plumber to find out what's wrong. Here are a few things that might cause your water heater to be less effective at making hot water.

1. When Sediment Builds Up Inside The Tank

Sediment gradually builds up inside water heaters. The speed at which sediment accumulates depends on the quality of your water. If your water comes from a well and has sediment in it or if you have hard water, then sediment could become a problem much quicker than if you have filtered water and a water softener installed.

As sediment builds up gradually, you may notice your water heater just gradually gets weaker at making hot water. There probably won't be a sudden change. Instead, it happens gradually over time. This type of water heater repair involves draining the tank to flush out the sediment.

The plumber might also recommend you install a water softener if your water has a lot of minerals in it so you won't have to worry about mineral scale accumulating in the tank and on the parts.

2. A Heating Element Could Be Bad

If you have an electric water heater, it probably has two heating elements that make hot water. One element is usually at the top and the other is at the bottom. Each has its own thermostat. If an element goes bad or a thermostat malfunctions, your water heater won't make hot water very well.

A plumber can repair this problem by putting in a new heating element or thermostat. These parts are accessible through the side of the heater, so this is a fairly easy water heater repair once the problem has been identified.

3. The Gas Control Valve Is Malfunctioning

The gas control valve on a gas water heater works like a thermostat in that it controls the gas that lights the flame that ignites the gas burners. If the gas control valve is malfunctioning, the flame might shut off too soon. This can be a tricky water heater repair since the valve controls other parts too, so one of those parts could be bad instead of the gas control valve.

The plumber has to troubleshoot the problem and then replace the right part. The gas control valve is located on the outside of your water heater so it's easy to reach and replace.