A traditional water heater should last about 10 years. But at any time, you can find yourself with cold water during a shower, when cooking, or washing the dishes. Your first reaction may be to call a plumber. However, here are some tips on what to do if you have no hot water.
See What Temperature the Thermostat Is Set To
Someone may have accidentally set the thermostat lower. A temperature of 120℉ is usually enough for home use (any lower allows bacteria to grow in the tank), but some prefer even warmer water. Increase the set temperature if it is lower than 120℉ but avoid setting it past 140℉, as this can easily burn human skin.
Check Whether the Circuit Breaker Has Tripped
An electric water heater will stop working if its circuit breaker has tripped. The breaker will switch to the “Off” position as a safety measure when there’s an overload or electrical fault. To look for a tripped breaker, open the service panel to see if it’s in a different position than the other breakers. Flip the tripped breaker off and then back on. If it stays on, then your water heater should start running again.
Look at the Pilot Light
A gas water heater uses a pilot light for its heating process. You might be able to relight an older water heater if the pilot light is out, using a match or barbecue lighter. Newer units feature a button to press to trigger a spark ignition system. With either system, move the pilot control knob to the “Off” position and wait 10 minutes. Once the burner compartment is cool, turn the knob to light and hold it down; then either light the pilot or press the red ignitor button. Then move the knob to the “On” position.
The pilot light should now be on. If not, the thermocouple may need to be replaced to restore gas flow.
Check Whether Anyone Else Is Using Hot Water
A water heater tank only holds so much water. If it has a capacity of 40 gallons, and all that water has been used, the system must then heat more water, which takes time. If multiple hot water taps are running simultaneously, the tank’s supply may be depleting at or faster than the rate it’s filling up. This is a common reason for no hot water.
Inspect the Water Heater for Leaks
Even a small leak can affect the unit’s ability to heat water. A leak can occur due to a loose fitting or connector or because the tank has ruptured. If a leak is small, it’s only going to get larger. Check whether the leak is coming from the water heater before you consider repairing or replacing it. If you can’t tell where the source of the leak is, call a plumber to come and inspect the water heater or plumbing system.
Also, check the thermostat and other compartments where leaking water can cause damage; if any component has water damage, it must be replaced.
Perform a Water Heater Tank Flush
A buildup of sediment and minerals can clog water lines and affect the heating element, leaving you with no hot water. A plumber should flush the water heater if you have no experience with this. The process requires turning off the gas or electricity, shutting the water supply, and waiting for the water to cool.
Next, attach the end of a garden hose to the drain valve. It’s located at the bottom of the water heater. Then put the other end of the hose into a floor drain or run it outside. Turn on the hot water to let the tank drain and relieve pressure, and open the drain valve to let the water flow through the hose. The tank can take up to 30 minutes to fully drain.
Replace Your Water Heater
If your water heater consistently doesn’t meet expectations or frequently needs repair, consider replacing and upgrading it. It may be only a matter of time before it fails. A lack of maintenance or hard water can shorten a water heater’s life, so replacement may be an option even if your system hasn’t reached the 10-year mark. A plumber can help determine whether it’s best to fix a water heater or install a new one.
Contact Village Plumbing
A leader in water heater services, we provide Houston customers with on-site repairs, water heater inspections and maintenance, and appliance installation and replacement. We specialize in high-efficiency and tankless water heaters as well. Learn about options for your home and how you can save as a member of our Village Partner Plan. Financing is also available. If you have no hot water, call 713-678-0483 to schedule a water heater repair or installation.