When you don’t have hot water in the house, the cold water can cause mass panic, especially when people want to use a hot shower to get ready for the day.
To restore the warm water to your home, you need to diagnose the problem and take the proper steps to fix it (assuming your hot water heater is large enough to support your family’s demands).
In this PlumbingNav guide, we’ll cover:
- Why do I have no hot water in the house?
- How to fix no hot water from water heater
- Is my water heater the right size?
|What's In This Guide?
Why Do I Have No Hot Water in the House?
You will run into several reasons a hot water system doesn’t produce hot water. Learning the cause of the problem is integral to resolving it.
Here are some of the main reasons your water heater may not produce hot water.
Hard water contains high levels of minerals. When the water warms up, the minerals get left behind, and the mineral deposits can damage components to the water heater.
Both electric and gas water heaters have a thermostat that regulates the water temperature. The thermostat may not properly communicate with the heating element or gas burner, as a result of damage from sediment build up.
If you have an electric water heater, you need to worry about the calcium deposits damaging the heating element, too. The heating element is the component that warms the incoming cold water that enters the water heater from the dip tube. If it breaks and doesn’t heat up, you won’t get hot water out of your unit.
Low Hot Water Pressure
Low-flow showerheads reduce water waste and save homeowners on water costs. However, the showerhead may not trigger your water heater without enough water flow coming from the water supply.
Water heaters only activate after the water reaches a minimum water pressure or flow rate. If the water from a low-flow showerhead doesn’t satisfy this minimum requirement, you won’t get any hot water.
No Pilot Light
If you have a gas water heater with a pilot light, the thermocouple will close the gas valve as a safety precaution. If the thermocouple gets dirty, it may close the gas valve when not necessary. When the gas valve closes, the pilot light will go out.
To eliminate this from happening, you can buy a gas water heater with an electronic ignition. Without the pilot light constantly running, devices with an electronic ignition also run more efficiently and release less toxins into the air.
An electric water heater may stop working if it experiences a power surge. A power surge can happen if the device receives too much power or comes into contact with water.
Water heaters come with security measures that ensure that they shut down before a large influx of power fries the entire device. However, you will need to reset the water heater to get it up and running again.
Most tank leaks result from corrosion.
All metal eventually experiences corrosion, affecting water heater tanks and tankless units. An anode rod slows down the corrosion process in a storage tank water heater, but it can’t stop the process completely.
You can verify the location of a water heater leak by using your hand or dry tissue paper to locate the source of the water leak.
How to Fix No Hot Water Coming From Water Heater
Once you realize you don’t have heated water, you need to resolve the issue as quickly as possible to ensure you reduce the number of cold showers you need to endure.
Here are some common ways to resolve no hot water coming from your water heater.
Reset Electric Water Heater
You may only need to press the reset button on your water heater if it experienced a standard power trip.
You can usually find the bright red reset button behind the access panel of the water heater.
Before pressing the reset button, you may want to check the circuit breaker box to ensure that the power is on at the circuit breaker.
To ensure problems don’t happen again in the future, ensure that you have enough electrical support for your water heater, as many run on 240v instead of the standard 120v supported by regular outlets.
Verify that you have the water heater set to the proper temperature, especially if the water heater comes with a wide range of operation settings that can change how it runs.
Water heaters with a digital display clearly show you the temperature setting on a screen. However, you may need to open the access panel to access the temperature controls on older models.
Set the temperature to 120°F for residential use. If already set to the appropriate temperature, do not increase the temperature settings in an attempt to resolve the problem. It can lead to scalding hot water.
Flush Water Heater
You should flush both your tank water heater and tankless heater about once a year as part of regular water heater maintenance.
Flushing the water heater will remove sediment buildup that can cause damage to the components and potentially result in insufficient water production.
To flush a water heater tank, you allow the water to drain from the tank by opening the drain valve. Continue to run water through it until you don’t see any more calcium or limestone deposits in the water.
A tankless unit requires a pump to help circulate a mixture of vinegar and water through the unit to remove the sediment. You can purchase a tankless water heater flush kit that will come with a pump, a bucket, and hoses to help you get the job done yourself.
Replace Thermostat and/or Heating Element
You need to test the thermostats to ensure that it registers appropriately.
You can test the thermostats using a multimeter. Verify that the multimeter is set to read voltage and check that you get a reading from each thermostat.
Keep in mind that most water heaters use a dual heating element to increase efficiency. Each heating element has its own thermostat. You will need to check both thermostats.
While you have the multimeter out, you should also test the heating elements in the heat exchanger. Many times, thermostat failure and heating element failure happen at the same time.
Replace any components that don’t provide a reading to see if that resolves the problem.
A major sign that the thermocouple requires repair is if you see the pilot light when turning on your gas water heater, but it goes out as soon as you stop holding down the ignition button.
Before you get started, be sure to shut off the gas supply to the water heater.
To clean the thermocouple, you will need to detach the burner assembly and locate the thermocouple.
You will recognize the thermocouple as the copper wire. Once you locate it, clean it using steel wool and a washcloth.
Replace Water Heater
Water heaters only last so long. Tank water heaters usually last about 10 years, while most tankless models last 20 years.
If you got great hot water from the unit for years until recently, repairs could resolve the issue for a limited time.
However, you need to give in and replace the entire water heater with a new one if you notice recurring problems and physical deterioration of the appliance.
When looking into new water heaters, get a water heater that can support the needs of your household while still running efficiently.
Is My Water Heater The Right Size For My Needs?
A small tank will produce cold water after your household uses up the hot water in the tank until it gets the opportunity to heat up the new water. Devices with a faster recovery rate will produce new hot water faster than units with a low recovery rating. You can aid the recovery function by adding a hot water recirculating pump if your unit is in otherwise good condition.
Tankless water heaters measure hot water production using flow rate. The flow rate must support all devices. If you have too many devices running at once, you need to divide the hot water among all devices. In some cases, this can create a hot water sandwich of cold water surrounding short bursts of hot water.
Improve Hot Water Production
If your hot water heater doesn’t produce enough hot water due to its size, you can take some steps to improve hot water in your home.
Some things to consider include:
- Set water heater temperature lower
- Take shorter showers
- Use low flow fixtures
- Buy appliances designed to use less water
FAQs On No Hot Water In House
Why do I have no hot water in my house?
Some of the most common reasons you may not get hot water into your home include:
- Faulty heating element/thermostat
- Low water pressure
- No pilot light
- Power surge
- Leaking tank
How can I fix the hot water in my house?
Try these methods to make your water heater produce hot water again:
- Reset electric water heater
- Replace heating element/thermostat
- Clean thermocouple
- Replace water heater
How long do water heaters last?
Storage tank water heaters usually last 10 years.
Tankless water heaters last an average of 20 years.
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