No Hot Water at Home? Here’s what to do.
Have you switched on your morning shower only to be greeted with a spray of cold water? Are you trying to wash the dishes after dinner and encounter lukewarm soapy water? Do you have cold water from what is usually a hot water faucet?
It’s time to take a look at that water heater that most homeowners would rather ignore.
First things first, if you smell gas, a gas leak could be the problem. Evacuate your home and call your local propane or natural gas company immediately. Do not enter the building until it has been emptied.
If you find no gas present, you can attempt to fix the problem yourself, which will avoid a costly call to a plumber, electrician, or other professional.
How to solve your hot water supply problem.
Would you like to fix errors yourself? First, perform a quick visual inspection to check if your water heater may have stopped working due to common reasons:
- If there is a water leak try to locate where the water is coming from, often there may be condensation or something nearby that is leaking and not the water heater itself. If you suspect it is the water heater, wrap towels around its base to check that the water is coming from inside and not outside of the towels. Knowing where the leak is coming from can help you determine if you need a new water tank. If the tank itself is leaking, your best bet is to call a service technician.
- Does water flow to the device? Make sure the water supply is on – this usually means the valve is parallel to the pipe. If it’s really cold outside, look for frozen pipes. If cold water cannot enter the device, it cannot heat it.
- Check the water heater thermostat – is it high enough? We recommend between 120 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Make sure the water heater vent pipe leaving your home is unobstructed and disconnected. If your drain goes to the side of your home, deep snow can block the drain and cause the water heater to shut off for safety. Make sure there are no animal nests or accumulations of leaves in the way.
- Does your water heater have an error code display? If so, a search can also help you diagnose the problem.
Once the plain stuff is out and you still don’t have hot water, it’s time to dig a little deeper.
Gas boiler not working?
Check indicator light. is it on and hot Otherwise you have to turn it back on. Instructions for your specific water heater should be placed on the water heater itself or in the access panel. You can also search for your specific model and likely find a YouTube video that shows you exactly how to relight the pilot light on your exact water heater, or follow these basic instructions to relight your pilot light.
To light a pilot light on a Gas Water Heater:
- Remove the access panel at the bottom of the water heater.
- Get closer to your water heater and smell the gas — it smells like rotten eggs — or listen for a hissing noise that could indicate a gas leak. If everything is clear, go ahead and try turning it back on.
- Turn OFF the On/Off/Pilot switch if not already done. Allow to stand for ten minutes to eliminate any gas build-up that may have occurred while the pilot flame was extinguished. Continue after ten minutes.
- Make sure the gas supply line is open – most often this means the gas valve is parallel to the pipe. If something is wrong with the gas line, stop and call a professional immediately.
- Set the thermostat or temperature controller to the lowest setting.
- Set the On/Off/Pilot button on the water heater to PILOT and then press the button to start the gas flow. Note: Some water heaters may have a separate compression gas supply knob for this step.
- If your water heater is newer, it will have a built-in ignition switch. Push it until you hear a click and check if the indicator light is on. If your water heater is older, you may need to manually relight the pilot light with a match or lighter. We recommend a longer, single-handled lighter to keep your fingers away from the pilot flame itself.
- Press and hold the gas supply button for one minute to thoroughly heat the thermocouple.
- Release the gas supply and if the pilot light stays lit after a while, turn the on/off/pilot light to the ON position and then adjust your thermostat to the desired setting.
- Replace your access panel and get ready to enjoy your hot water!
For an Electric Water Heater:
When it comes to an electric water heater, one of the most common causes is a lack of electricity. You need to make sure the device is turned on. Is it plugged in? Has the circuit breaker tripped? Check out these two for an easy fix.
If none of the above seem to be the problem, the lower or upper thermostat may be faulty, or a heating element may have failed. It is best to call in an expert to assess the damage.
For an Instantaneous Water Heater:
Aside from your exhaust pipes being clear, the unit getting gas and/or electricity, and no leaks, there are a few other common reasons why a water tankless heater won’t work:
- First, assess whether you manage everything in your house at once. Do you do the laundry, do you run the dishwasher, and do you give the kids a bath? Maybe too much for your current device.
- Check the thermostat and make sure it is properly fitted.
- Dust or dirt may have built up on the burners, or the unit may need to be flushed to remove deposits in the tubes.
- Clean the fresh air intake filter – this keeps dirt and bugs out, but also means it can clog over time.
- Annual inspection and maintenance can help prevent these problems in the future. Here’s how to do it yourself and see if it gets your device back in shape.
If your water heater is still not producing hot water after reviewing these common problems, it may be time to call a water heater expert.
Not Enough Hot Water?
If you have hot water – just not enough, it’s probably time for an upgrade. Your hot water tank may be undersized, especially when your family has grown or you are spending more time at home than you used to. Upgrading to a larger tank heater or checking out if a tank heater is right for you could be the next best step to guaranteed to keep your shower routine hot.
You might also be asking yourself the question: when was your water heater last emptied? If the answer is “never” – it might be time to call a professional – enough sediment may have built up to prevent the water heater from working for various reasons and it may have reached the end of its life and is hot water capacity.
If you’ve flushed your water heater in the last 5 years, you can probably tackle the work yourself and see if a new flush can get your water heater working again. Here’s our step-by-step guide to flushing your hot water tank. Keeping up with this yearly maintenance can help you avoid the shock of a cold shower in the future.
Are you still having problems with the Hot Water?
If all of these things have been checked and there’s still no hot water – or not enough hot water – coming out of your faucets, it’s probably time to call a professional. If you are in our service area, please give us a call. We are the experts in water heater repair and installation – that’s all we do.