Hot water is something that many people take for granted. It’s become a staple throughout households across the world that having no hot water always comes as a shock. Whether you need it to take a long, well-deserved soak in the tub, a quick shower before work, or simply do the dishes after a delicious family dinner, hot water is essential for many aspects of your home.
So what do you do when you run out of hot water? Sometimes, you simply need to wait a while for the temperature to rise if the current tank has been depleted of hot water. There are also some occasions where you have no hot water and cannot figure out why. There are several reasons why you might not have some hot water, and it’s useful to know the possibilities to help you troubleshoot the problem.
Your Tank Is Leaking
A leaking tank is one of the most common reasons why you do not have hot water running out of the faucet or shower, so it’s something you should check if you find that your water is not running warm.
This issue is usually easy to spot because there will be a pool of water on the floor at the base of the heater. These leaks can sometimes be large enough to actually put out the pilot light at the burner which will cause the heater to shut-off completely. Tank failures cannot be repaired, and the only true solution is to replace the water heater completely.
Your Gas Is Not Flowing
If there is any disruption with the gas flow to the house, this will cause the pilot light at the water heater burner area to go out. Once the gas feed situation is resolved you can usually just re-light the pilot and fire up the water heater like normal. If the gas feed was turned off due to a leak or safety issue than that problem of course will need to be resolve before the heater will be operatable again
Your Elements Need Replacing
If you have an electric water heater that is not producing enough hot water, one of the most common reasons is a failed element. Most electric heaters have two thermostats and two elements for heating the water. If any of these components fail the heater will either shut off completely or only work at half capacity.
First check to make sure the circuit breaker at the main electrical panel has not been tripped. If that checks out and there is proper power to the heater itself then the thermostats & elements have to be tested. This is best done by a qualified service technician as you need to special voltage meters to detect the proper operation of the heater parts.
You’ve Lost Power Altogether
Power outages can happen at any time. Depending on where you live, the weather could cause power lines to falter, or the grid may just get overloaded. While power outages are easy to identify at night, you might not notice if it occurs during the day.
This power failure is a possible reason why you have no hot water. Although there might still be some hot water contained in the water heater or the pipes, this will run out eventually.
Going from a steaming hot shower to a blast of cold water is a shock to the system no matter who you are, so you will be the first to know when this happens.
You’ll want to fix this issue as quickly as possible, but that might not be possible if the entire neighborhood is experiencing the same problem. Check other sockets and appliances throughout the home to confirm the outage, and then you will just need to wait.
Your Gas Valve Has Failed
Those with a gas-based water heater should go to the source when they do not have any hot water as it could be a failed gas valve that is causing the problem. This failure is not the same as a gas leak, so you may be able to solve any problems yourself.
Most water heaters now have the newer ‘Smart Valve’ technology, which show a specific error code if there is a gas valve failure. This code can be checked against the troubleshooting list in the owners manual to narrow down the issue. In the event of a gas valve failure, this is typcailly something that would be handled by a qualified service technician due to the complexity of the replacement
The Thermostat Is Broken
A broken thermostat is another possibility that will contribute to the absence of hot water. For gas water heaters the thermostat is built into the gas valve. Similar to a failed gas valve, if the thermostat is not working properly the entire gas valve should be replaced. You may still experience hot water at this time, but it could be either way too hot or not hot enough despite the temperature setting on the gas valve. The correct temperature for any water heater should be between 120-140°F
Your Tank Is Too Small
If your water heater is the wrong size for your household, you will struggle to get enough hot water for everybody. Tanks and heaters that are too small have the potential to run out too quickly on a regular basis. Once the hot water runs out initially, you and your family will need to wait for the water to heat up again.
This is common in households that have grown over the years. While a standard water heater is ideal for small families or even just couples, the more people in your household, the more difficult it will be to maintain a consistent hot water level for everybody.
Unfortunately, you won’t realize your tank is not sufficient until it is too late. The only thing you can do in this scenario is to wait for the hot water to return for the time being. Once everyone has had a shower, you can think about upgrading your water heater and installing a larger model.
Risks of No Hot Water
Hot water is a staple of the modern household. You use it to cleanse yourself, wash the dishes, and in some cases, do your laundry. Besides the obvious comfort problems that come from cold showers (especially when you are not expecting it), a lack of hot water means you cannot kill bacteria and germs that live on your clothes or cutlery and plates. Because of this, you must identify and solve any hot water problems as soon as you notice them to ensure a comfortable and hygienic household.
How To Fix It
There are many hot water issues that you can fix by yourself, and hopefully, you can get your hot water back within an hour of diagnosing any problems. With several simple fixes, you can get back to washing the dishes or taking a much-needed shower after a long and stressful day.
Although some hot water issues are easily fixed in seconds if you know what to do, other problems require a professional touch. If you are unsure how to get to the bottom of your hot water problems, don’t hesitate to contact Hedlund Plumbing to find out what we can do for you and the services we offer.
A consistent hot water supply is a must for any household. For many people, it feels like a fundamental human right. Therefore, you should consider all possibilities for why you do not have hot water and look at the variety of solutions that can help you get your hot water supply back.