OH – the dreaded moment when you’re in the middle of a hot, relaxing shower only to be slowly overcome by frigid waters. Your hot water retreats, leaving you fully suds and freezing. What do you do when there is no hot water in the house? Here are a few key tips that you can try before calling a plumber.
No Hot Water With An Electric Water Heater
Electric water heaters are the most common in Arizona. For those of you with an electric water heater, try these troubleshooting tips:
- Water Heater Element – If you’re heating element goes out, you’ll run out of hot water quickly. Try replacing the element (which is much cheaper than replacing the whole unit). Just make note that you will need a special tool called a water heater element wrench.
- Faulty Thermostat – A faulty thermostat may short out. Try replacing the component. Many hot water heaters have an upper and a lower thermostat. Since they were likely both installed at the same time, we recommend replacing both if one goes out.
- Leaking Pipes – Sometimes the pipes can leak at connection points. Try tightening them to stop the leak. If that doesn’t work, replace pipes or call a plumber to do so.
- Leaking Tank – A leaking water heater means it’s time for a replacement.
- Reset Button – You may need to simply reset the water heater if it has been tripped. However, if it trips often it’s likely going bad. Consider replacing.
- Accidental Grounding – Something may be blocking or interfering with the electric current. Using extreme caution, look for foreign objects that may be shorting wiring connections.
- Wire Short – Check the wiring for any frayed or scratched wire; if any is found, replace.
- Undersized Fuse or Breaker – A standard house comes with a 40-gallon water heater. If you have or are buying a larger gallon capacity, consult with your plumbing or electrical companies to make sure you have the correct amperage.
- Broken Breaker – Sometimes you circuit breakers is the problem as they can get old just like any device. Try replacing the breaker.
No Hot Water With A Gas Water Heater
For those of you with gas water heaters, you’ll have a completely different checklist. Here is what you need to check if there is no hot water in the house.
- No Gas – Are you out of gas? If that’s not it, make sure that the gas is turned on to the unit.
- Pilot Light – Occasionally the pilot light can go out; re-lite using caution. Be sure to check your water heater manual for specific instructions.
- Clogged Pilot Light – The pilot light can become clogged over time. Try taking it off and cleaning it. Make sure it is completely cool before doing so.
- Clogged Burner – While you’re cleaning the pilot light, clean the burner as well. Soot can build upon the main burner, which can inhibit even heating or ignition.
- Thermocouple – Look to make sure the tip of the thermocouple is in the flame of the pilot light and tightly connected to the gas line. If not, you may need to call a professional to make adjustments.
- Damaged Gas Line – On occasion, gas lines can have pinholes in them, causing irregular heating. Replace with new lines.
- Defective Gas Control Valve – If everything else seems right, your control valves may inhibit the flow of gas. Try replacing them.
- The Flue – The flue (ventilation for the unit going to the outside of your house) might be blocked by debris. Check to make sure it is unobstructed.
What To Do?
If you have examined your water heater and concluded that all looks fine, but you still have no hot water in the house, you may have a water heater that is too small for your needs. As a rule of thumb, a typical warm shower will push out about two gallons of water per minute. So, if you have a 40-gallon tank, you’re looking at a 20-minute shower. If you’d like to explore the option of a larger water heater, need a second opinion on how to fix your current water heater, or would like one of our plumbers to fix your unit for you, contact us today.