How long is too long in the shower?

Hi everyone: advice would be appreciated. I have two guests in at the moment and they have said that they cannot take a shower after one another as the water for the second person runs cold. I had the plummer come in straight away and they fixed the temperature on the water heater within 10-minutes giving ample hot water. The following day they said that it still ran cold on the 2nd person, however, they told me that they shave - shave their legs etc etc iin the shower - the plumber has said that there is nothing wrong with the water heater (2 years old) and that they must be having exceptionally long showers. Question do i apologize again? give the guest a refund? I am a super host and hosting for 5 years this is the first time this has happened. They leave tomorrow with probably a bad review for me.

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So how long does the water run before it gets cold? You don’t say.

I have constant hot water so I haven’t ever encountered this issue.

Did you ask the guest how long the first person is in the shower? Did you ask your plumber how long the hot water lasts before it runs cold?

How many gallons is your water heater?

Hi Helsi: I am afraid I didn’t question them on how long they were in the shower for. The plumber said that we have ample hot water and an ample water heater for the apartment - it is a separate water heater from the main water heater for our home.

I am not sure of the exact size, it is less than two years old and is apparently totally adequate for the apartment upstairs.
This is the first time in five years of hosting that someone has queried it.

Without the size, you can’t really have a positive discussion with these guests. Ask your plumber for the number of gallons or litres. Without that number, you could not assess how much water is used per shower against an average of the typical shower.

It is an adequate size doesn’t work here. It isn’t adequate for THEM, and they don’t care about much more than that.


Yes good thought will call them shortly. Thank you - Linda

It’s a standard heater at 40 gallons

40 Gallons is supposed to service 4 people easily
Your guests are taking waaaay too long showers.
Here is a guideline I cut and paste from some info:

The chart below will give you a general idea of how much hot
water you would use for a given activity.
Average gallons of hot water per use:
hand dishwashing------------6
Automatic Dishwasher-------15
Shower or Bath--------------20
Clothes Washer--------------30


That isn’t enough hot water for people who take long showers.

There is no “standard” water heater. 40 gallons… according to the city of Philadelphia:

10 minute showers x 2 gallons a minute = 20 gallons
plus 3 gallons per toilet flush
and if someone is washing dishes… even more

The other calculator that I see indicate that an average is 17.2 gallons all the way up to 50 gallons without water-savers.

Thank you so much I so appreciate it – that is so useful.

40 gallons is what our plumbing company told us they had installed. We are in California so it may be slightly different.
Appreciate your thoughts though.


… and it all depends on your rate of flow, i.e. do you have a water saver shower head? In CA, I would be surprised if you didn’t. Best with these guests.



Your 40 gal. should be more than adequate for two, especially if your tank has been inspected by your plumber. There is obviously no leak and I’m sure he has the temp set properly.

I have 30 gal. under-counter heaters in almost all of my one-bedroom (LT) apts., and never had a complaint on the adequacy of the hot water. Most of the occupants are couples, several have a child and one apt. has three adults. I don’t have water-saver shower heads. Absolutely no complaints…ever.

You probably won’t escape the bad review you see coming. I wouldn’t worry about it. If they were staying longer, I would suggest to them that they wait an hour between showers…but I still think they have some ulterior motive.


Thank you so much for your kind words – it has made me feel better I have a sort of sinking feeling of having to deal with a complaint in the morning. They seem really nice people I am just sorry that they found something not to their liking. Thank you again for responding.

I have a 40 gallon water heater and I have never run out of hot water or had a complaint. This summer I had a band stay here. There were 5 of them and they all showered within an hour of one another, using 2 bathrooms. They were staying for free so may have thought it rude to say anything. Also people use more hot water when it’s cold than when it’s warm. Some possible explanations 1) They take exceptionally long and/ or hot showers 2) they are having sex in the shower 3) they are the types that turn on the water and let it run while they sit on the toilet for 10 minutes.

I’d just say sorry and move on. When you review them you could say something like “they reported running out of hot water several times even though I had this checked by a plumber we couldn’t correct the issue.” I’ve read many reviews like that; they aren’t negative and they don’t admit fault, they just state the facts.

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Dusty thanks for the advice - I like that I will certainly use those words or similar. And thanks for the explanations. Really appreciate it.

More and more common are the ‘on-demand’ type of water heater, with no tank. Water is heated as used, so theoretically does not run cold.

Hi @Linda I would message the guest, explain you have had the plumber out and they have checked everything is okay with the water heater so you are rather puzzled.

That you have a 40 gallon tank which has met the needs of XXXX guests who have stayed at your property.

That you can only suggest the first person takes a shower of up to ten minutes (quite a long time for a shower) and there should be plenty of hot water for the second person.

This message puts a marker down for Airbnb that you took their concerns seriously, no other guests have had the same problem, you called a professional out who will be able to confirm there was no problem with the tank and you offered a solution.