How to Handle Hot Water Thieves

They come into your house – or maybe they live in your house – and they steal ALL of your hot water. Or maybe YOU are a hot water thief. If so, SHAME ON YOU!

I know what living with hot water thieves feels like. I’ve been living with them practically my whole life. My youngest sister was a hot water thief. Mom would say, “Don’t forget to take your showers,” and Cindy and I would argue about who would get into the shower first. Behind our backs, that thief Kathy would take advantage of the fact that we were paying so much attention to each other that we totally forgot about our sneaky little sister until she slammed shut the bathroom door and locked herself in before we had time to grab our pajamas.

Cindy and I would stand by the bathroom watching the steam escape from under the door as Kathy enjoyed her luxurious HOT shower. It was so close to the time we had to go to bed, we knew that if she didn’t get out of that shower within the next ten minutes we were doomed to taking cold showers. One minute passed, then two. Thirty minutes later, after that last drop of hot water made an Elvis exit, Kathy got out of the shower.

Through squinted eyes and gnarled lips we watched our highbrow little sister exit the bathroom with a long sigh and a wide smile. We hated her conniving ways.


Until the day we got old enough to realize that by jumping in the shower BEFORE Mom mentioned it, we could experience showering as it was meant to be – warm and soothing – and not as we were used to experiencing it – with stabs of ice spiking us.

Fast forward to the past several years. Several of my family members, or members who married into the family, are notorious hot water thieves. I enjoy showering just as much as anyone. But to stand in there until every last drop of hot water has dripped from the faucet makes no sense to me. It’s not as if I’m never going to shower again – I can do the same thing tomorrow or later the same day – I don’t have to stand there waiting for my hot water heater to empty its vault.

Or is that what keeps it running efficiently? Maybe we’re supposed to expend every last drop of moisture in our hot water heaters so that we can give them a chance to dry out before they fill up again. I never thought of that! Maybe there’s a perfectly reasonable scientific explanation for why people steal hot water.

Yeah, that’s what those thieves would want us to believe.

Whatever. I don’t believe that. I now know how to handle the thieves, and if you’re interested in learning how to handle a hot water thief, I’d like to share that information with you. If your thief is older, he or she probably has a schedule. Pay attention to it. Ten minutes before the thief usually jumps in the shower, take your ten minute shower.

If your thief, or thieves, are really getting on your nerves, if you have asked them time and time again to warn you about when they are getting in the shower, if nothing you ever say or do makes any difference to them, try this: the minute they enter the shower, run a hot load on the washing machine AND a hot load in the dishwasher.

Grab your car keys and your driver’s license. Because while both of those machines are running, you are going to turn on the hot water in the kitchen sink, and you are going to hold your free hand under the faucet until the water turns cold.

When all the hot water stops running, turn off the faucet and RUN out of the house, because when the thieves get out of the shower, they will be raging and you will finally find yourself in hot water 😉

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