hot water delay in building

I live in a 3 story 18 unit building built more than 50 years ago. It used to have a boiler but it is out of service and was (apparently) long ago replaced with a more modern hot water heater. My question is this: I live on the first floor. When I turn on the hot water in the morning it takes up to 20 minutes, sometimes longer, for the water to reach temperature. Why is this? There is a sub-floor and perhaps the pipes are not insulated -- but it is still only 56 degrees f in the morning. This is in Los Angeles..which has large potential for drought. Shouldn't this be fixed? What should I tell the manager? They were looking for leaky faucets because the water bill keeps getting higher. I tried to tell them that it was because the water doesn't get warm fast enough...but they wake up late so they don't notice it.
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How far from your apartment is the water heater?
Is there good water pressure at your faucets?
MM
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My shower is physically 25' or so away. The heater is in the basement, too. However, if the water is routed down the hall and around the building then I would actually be the furthest away in terms of water flow.
3 4 2 5 1 6
That is the building layout. I would be apartment #6. The hotwater heater is in the basement under apartment #1. Not sure if that makes a difference.

Kitchen sink yes. Bathroom sink, NO. Shower...seems comparable to cold water flow...I consider it good pressure...just as good as the kitchen. This is what confuses me about why it takes so dang long for the water to get here. Kitchen sink has the same delay problem. Even at 8PM it can take 7 minutes for the water to get warm. So when I do dishes...I turn the water on hot only...and go read news, etc...and come back to check after reading a few news stories and it is still cold. It pains me to do this.
I have friends on the third floor. They say they can tell whether or not I had to work early by whether or not the water is warm. If they get up before me it takes their hot water a long time as well.
Thanks. Perhaps I will get a stop watch and test them this weekend with my digital cooking thermometer. Or maybe it is pointless and this is just how old buildings are.
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It needs a way to re-circulate hot water. You may be too far from the hot water to reach your apt.

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Andrew wrote:

Something is very wrong with the building's DHW system. If it's three stories with six units per story it can't be THAT big a structure.
Assuming a piss poor flow rate of only a half gallon per minute with the hot water faucet full on, and 3/4 inch pipe all the way between the water heater's location and your faucet, you'd have to be 436 feet from from the heater for it to take 20 minutes before you emptied the piping and started receiving the first water from the heater. (3/4" pipe holds 5.3 cubic inches of water per foot, 231 cubic inches per gallon, easy math...)
What do the other tenants have to say about this? Can you convince the manager to let you wake him/her up early one morning so you can demonstrate the problem firsthand?
If the water heater is really "on" and the water in it hot when you need to use it, then there may be an undiscovered cross connection between the cold and hot water piping somewhere in the building which is contributing to the effect you are seeing.
HTH,
Jeff
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My name is Jeff Wisnia and I approved this message....

(W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
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do you know what they use to make hot water?
If this happens to your neighbors as well then I think the problem is likely in the basement with the heater. If some jamoke installed a on demand water heater and tried to get fancy and put it through a storage tank or something then this would be a likely result. If they have 2 water heaters and they have been piped in seires and the last one has gone bad then this would also create the symptom you describe.
I suspect there is a tank they run through a coil and the hot water recirc pump is dead. so you have to empty the tank before you get any water.

20min * 2gal per min = 40 gal tank.

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