Does having to wait a long time for hot water = no hot water?
December 6, 2016 1:03 AM   Subscribe

I moved into an apartment in downtown San Jose on Dec 2nd. It is taking on average, 8 minutes for hot water to start running out of all the taps and the shower. I notified my landlord the same day, and they said that one of the tanks is down, and that it's being repaired. It is now Dec. 6, and still no progress.

I am not a big fan of cold showers, but I also feel that I (and any other tenants impacted by this tank repair) are unnecessarily wasting gallons of water. And we are in the midst of a drought! Is there anything I can do to compel my landlord to pick up the pace on the tank repair? I will admit, I know very little about water heater tanks.

You are not my lawyer, and I will not misconstrue anything as legal advice. Thanks in advance.
posted by invisible ink to Law & Government (9 answers total)
Is there any reason you cannot just ask the landlord what the scheduled date for the repair is?
posted by DarlingBri at 1:13 AM on December 6, 2016 [10 favorites]

Who pays for water usage?
posted by the agents of KAOS at 1:22 AM on December 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

I've got nothing more useful than to keep calling him.

In the mean time, stick a bucket under shower while it heats up and use it to water the garden or flush the toilet.
posted by kjs4 at 3:45 AM on December 6, 2016 [7 favorites]

And now you have learned the lesson of "try all the faucets before you sign anything." Here's another: "if you can't drink the tap water, you need to MOVE. That area is (by definition) uninhabitable."
You can probably break this lease before 30 days without much trouble. Read the fine print.
posted by sexyrobot at 7:59 AM on December 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

You could get a health department inspection. This will not improve your landlord tenant relationship. It might however be grounds for your breaking the lease.
posted by zippy at 8:57 AM on December 6, 2016

So I just had to get my water heater replaced, and it took a full week, which was beyond annoying. So I don't think that 4 days is unreasonable for repairs (particularly if, say, you discover that the old water heater wasn't up to code and installing the new one is like trying to launch Space X) BUT my landlord was in touch with me DAILY about the progress going on, and your landlord should similarly be letting you know what's up.
posted by TwoStride at 9:00 AM on December 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Seconding the time frame being reasonable. I live about 6 miles from downtown SJ and it just took two weeks to get my leaking water heater replaced as every contractor and service provider in the Bay Area is swamped with work but can't find enough workers to meet the demand.

Unless you happen to be living in One South Market, in which case, they have other issues.
posted by jamaro at 12:24 PM on December 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

If the water starts warming up after a few minutes, I doubt it's the missing tank. Most places I've lived, the showers are far enough way from the water heater that the temp of the water in the hot supply line seems to cool off while sitting. All that water has to be flushed out before hot water starts making it out of the tap. I just let the hot tap run while brushing my teeth before a shower, which does waste a bit of water, but it's not like I'm going to shower in cold water.

You might be able to put a tankless heater closer to where you're going to use the hot water to avoid this, but you'd probably need the landlord to agree and even then it may not be entirely feasible.
posted by willnot at 4:38 PM on December 6, 2016

I'm a landlord. I would never let my tenant have no hot water for more than a long holiday weekend.

That said, you've got hot water. It's just slow in coming. I wouldn't take that to be an emergency. And if it's one of the tanks being down, that suggests a complex setup that might take a while to get an expert to fix.

By comparison, my shower's pressure is really, really low, and I've been calling plumbers to come and fix it since August, and each one takes FOREVER to call back, even longer to schedule a visit, and INFINITY to actually fix the problem. So far not one has found a solution. And my house was built in 2000 and one of the plumbers I've called designed and installed the whole plumbing system. So I can sympathize that it could take a long time to get this problem fixed.

As kjs4 suggested, save the water that comes out cold, and use it for something else.
posted by Capri at 8:06 PM on December 7, 2016

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