Now that it is getting colder, we have noticed that when we get home from work, our water is not that hot. It was warm at best after a four-day trip. The water heater is in an unheated basement, next to the furnace. It's not freezing by any means. After a shower or some dishes, it heats up fine and we have hot water.
It's a gas water heater. My mental image of how it works is that the fire shuts off OK when the water heats the desired temp, but doesn't come back on until new cold water is introduced. I would have guessed that it would be a normal thermostat. If it is a thermostat, how do we set the temperature that the water heater that the fire come on at?
Or, can someone explain how this works in reality, and offer advice?