My Hot Water Disappeared Due To Demand - Why Is It Taking So Long To Come Back?
A sudden loss of hot water as you're using the shower is annoying but not that unusual. What is unusual, however, is if the hot water doesn't return within a couple of minutes. Finding that so many people have been using hot water before you, so that the hot water runs out when you try to use it, shouldn't mean resigning yourself to taking a cold shower and having to use cold water all day. If you think you've lost your hot water because of simple overuse, but the hot water hasn't returned quickly, one of these three situations may be occurring.
One is that the excess demand is still there. If you have a tank-style water heater, and the hot water stored in the tank has been used up, it's going to take a bit for more water to heat up -- and then that hot water is simply going to be drawn out of the tank immediately and split between however many hot water faucets are on at the time. In tankless water heaters, the water should heat up immediately upon flowing into the water heater, but again, if too many people are trying to draw on that hot water, there's not going to be enough to go around. Either way, you're not going to get more hot water for a while.
The Tank Needs to Refill
If you have a tank-style water heater, you're going to have to wait for the tank to refill, too. Yes, you'll still get water out of the hot water tap, but it won't feel warm until water in the tank has had a chance to warm up. This is similar to the issue with continued demand, just on a smaller scale as you're the only one trying to use the hot water. All you can really do is just wait. Turn the water off if you can (although that's easier said than done if you're in the middle of a shower), wait a few minutes, and try turning the hot water on again.
The Ignition Is Broken
If the hot water doesn't come back at all, and no one else is trying to use hot water -- you've waited and waited, but hours later there's nothing -- then you may be looking at a broken ignition or pilot light. Depending on how old your water heater is, you could have a standing pilot light or one that stays off until an electronic ignition clicks on. No hot water means the heating source is on the fritz. You may need water heater repair services. Don't attempt to fix this yourself, instead contact a water-heater repair service because you don't want to mess with any source of ignition unless you're trained to do so.
Water heaters are like all appliances, they can have their issues that make life less convenient for you. Fixing the water heater is usually straightforward, and a good repair service can help you out.