The “No Hot Water” Troubleshooting Guide
Hot water is a modern luxury that’s easy to take for granted. When you wake up to find no hot water in the house, or hot water failing in a single sink or shower, it’s enough to throw your family out of rhythm. Luckily, there are a few things to check that will help you make an easy fix or decide it’s time to call One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning for expert help.
Reasons for No Hot Water: Common Causes
Every situation is different and certainly deserves a little time to investigate. Remember that when it comes to anything heating-related, there are two things to check first: the source of heat and how that heat is regulated. In a water heater, that means looking at the electricity or gas supply and the unit’s thermostat.
Some common issues are:
- Gas leak
- Pilot light out
- Closed or faulty gas valve
- Blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker
- Bad thermostat
Let’s cover the symptoms and solutions for each of these problems.
Gas Leak (Gas Water Heater)
A gas leak is dangerous and inconvenient. Signs of this problem include a strong “rotten eggs” odor or a hissing sound. If you have any reason to believe your home is leaking gas, call your gas provider immediately. They can help you determine whether there is a leak and make the repair if necessary. The gas company won’t fix your water heater, but they can rule out a leak as the cause of the problem.
Pilot Light Out (Gas Water Heater)
Older gas water heaters have standing pilot lights that can be relit if they go out. If you have no hot water, check your unit to see if there are any warning lights turned on. Then confirm that you can see the actual flame through the gap on the bottom of the water heater. If either of these troubleshooting steps indicates a blown-out pilot light, follow the instructions on the side of the unit to relight it. Repeated pilot light issues should be handled by a professional HVAC service like One Hour.
Closed or Faulty Gas Valve (Gas Water Heater)
Your water heater has a valve that controls the flow of natural gas or propane. While it may seem obvious, ensure the valve is turned all the way to the ‘On’ position. The valve may have been bumped and accidentally closed. If the valve is on and you have ruled out a gas leak, try extinguishing and relighting the pilot light (if it’s a standing pilot) a few times. If your pilot light flickers out after a short time, the gas valve may be restricting the flow of gas too much. Contact a professional to troubleshoot further.
Power Malfunction (Electric Water Heater)
If your electric hot water heater is the problem, it could be due to an electrical malfunction. Check the breaker box or electrical panel. If a circuit breaker has been tripped, reset it. After that, it may take a couple of hours for hot water to be restored. If the circuit breaker keeps tripping, try resetting the water heater and checking your hot water after an hour or two. If you still don’t have hot water after these steps, it’s possible your unit is broken or you don’t have a dedicated circuit for it. Have an expert help you assess the problem.
Both gas and electric water heaters rely on a thermostat to regulate how often they kick on and at what temperature they heat the water. If you have no hot water or the temperature seems much colder than normal, check your thermostat settings. Your water heater should be set between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. In some cases, sediment buildup can cause problems with temperature regulation. You may try draining your hot water heater tank before assuming the thermostat itself is broken and needs to be replaced.
Hot Water Conundrums: Advanced Troubleshooting
In addition to the common issues we’ve covered so far, some other oddball issues demand a little more creative thinking.
What if There’s No Hot Water in Shower but Hot Water in the Sink?
If you have hot water everywhere in the home except the shower, the problem is often one of two things.
Anti-scald device – Many modern shower systems have an anti-scald device. Check with the manufacturer of your shower to see if this device can be adjusted. Follow the directions to adjust it to your tastes.
Shower mixing valve – All showers have a mixing valve that combines hot and colder water supplies. If you’re only getting cold water, start by ensuring both water supplies are turned on all the way. If they are, you may need to replace the mixing valve.
What if There’s No Hot Water Coming Out of One Faucet?
If you have hot water everywhere except one sink, the most common culprit is a leak. Check all the pipes leading to the faulty faucet, and look for dripping or pooling water. If you have no hot or cold water at this faucet, look for any valves that may have been closed accidentally. If you can’t find a leak, contact a plumber to investigate deeper.
The Pilot Light Is on But No Hot Water
This is a more common occurrence than you might think. Luckily, it’s usually an easy fix: Just ensure the unit’s gas valve is turned all the way on. (No need to touch the gas knob that controls the pilot light itself, since the pilot is working.)
If this doesn’t fix the issue, your unit may have a faulty thermocouple. This component can cause problems with the pilot light and temperature regulation. It’s best to call a professional to diagnose problems with your thermocouple.
Get Your Hot Water Back Fast with One Hour
You can do plenty of investigating and tinkering, but if you want hot water back on in no time, leave it to the water heater specialists at One Hour. Our expert technicians can find the source of your problems and complete the repair quickly, getting you and your family back in the swing of things! Call (800) 893-3523 or request an appointment today.