What to do when you have no hot water

No Hot Water – What to Do?

There’s nothing better than having a hot shower during winter. At the other end of the scale though, there is also nothing worse than having nothing but cold water hit your back due to having no hot water.

Having the hot water go out is definitely a frustrating experience. Luckily though, it’s an easy fix the vast majority of cases ff you know what to look for and chances are you will be able to get it working on your own within a few minutes by following  a few simple steps without the help of a Hot Water Repair Specialist.

If your hot water constantly stops only to come back after an hour or so, it may mean your hot water tank isn’t big enough. This is especially the case if you have a lot of people living in your home so the only remedy for this would be to take shorter showers or get a larger hot water heater. However, if the hot water doesn’t return even after an hour of waiting then you will need to diagnose the issue.

Gas Hot Water Tank Troubleshooting

If you have a gas water heater, the first thing you want to check is the pilot light to see if the flame is out. Follow the instructions below to relight or check the manufacturers instructions –

  1. Turn the gas regular knob to the off position and wait five minutes for the gas to dissipate.
  2. Then turn the regulator to pilot.
  3. If your water heater has the self-ignite option, just hold down the ignition button for about a minute, then turn the regulator to on, the majority of hot water tanks allow you to control the temperature of your hot water so select the temperature suitable for your climate
  4. Older style tanks may require you to light the pilot light manually using a long lighter or match and direct the flame near the pilot burner where the gas supply is located.

Your pilot light should now be ignited. If it won’t light or doesn’t stay lit, then ensure your gas valve hasn’t been closed before trying to light it again. If it still fails to light then there is a possibility that a gas leak is present and you should immediate turn off your gas valve and call a professional emergency plumber for a hot water tank repair. The other possibility could be a faulty thermostat which is also a repair which will require a plumber.

Hot water tank diagram
Hot Water diagram – the pilot light can be accessed behind the access panel. Manufacturers instructions for relighting can also be found behind the access panel cover

Electric Hot Water Tank Troubleshooting

If you have an electric hot water tank with no hot water, then the first place you will want to check is your electrical circuit breaker to see whether a circuit breaker has been tripped cutting off the power supply to the hot water tank. Try resetting the circuit breaker to see if power is restored to the hot water tank. If the circuit breaker trips again, it usually means you have an electrical problem. Hot water tanks need a lot of energy to operate and keeping one on its own dedicated circuit is usually the best option to reduce the chances of overloading. An electrician can help service your breaker and set up a separate circuit for the tank but before you doing so, check for any signs of water in the water tank compartment, any signs of water indicates a leak (which causes the electricals in the tank to short circuit). If this is the case, it is most likely not worth repairing and a replacement will be the best option.

During colder months, it’s possible that the hot water heater will stop producing hot water if the temperature control setting is turned to too low so try turning it as high as possible and wait 30 minutes and check if hot water returns.

If there is no electrical issues and your hot water tank doesn’t restart even after turning to maximum temperature, it may mean the heating issue in your electric hot water tank heating element is failing leading to no hot water. Replacing elements are usually inexpensive but a replacement is usually recommended if the tank is over 10 years old since other issues are likely to surface for tanks of this age.

Tankless Water Heaters Troubleshooting – Gas & Electric

Having no hot water is commonly reported with tankless hot water heaters since temperature is usually controlled by a microprocessor and like a computer, it does tend to cause issues every once in awhile. Most issues can be easily cleared just by turning the water heater off then back on again.

First check to see the gas or electric supply is still going to the unit. Check the shut-off valves, as they might be in the closed position. Next, check the gas burner and whether the flame rod generate sparks. If not, then refer to manufacturers instructions on how to fix ignition problems.

Secondly, check that you the unit is delivering the minimum flow rate by ensuring the tap is open far enough and that there is no obstructions in the water pipe line.
Many times the unit will throw an error code in the control panel which prevents the heater from function. Try resetting your tankless water heater to see if the error code is cleared. Refer to the manufacturers instructions on how to resolve the error code if resetting the unit doesn’t clear it.

Wondering which hot water tank is best suited to your needs? Check out Tankless vs Tank Hot Water Heaters

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