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No Hot Water in the House? Possible Causes and Solutions

Slow leaks or sudden bursts cause about 69% of water heater failures.

With that in mind, several other issues can affect the hot water in your home. An unexpected cold shower is never a good time, and a lack of hot water isn’t the kind of issue that’s likely to resolve itself. Fortunately, you can often deal with things without too much trouble.

There are a range of issues that can cause there to be no hot water in the house. In this guide, we’ll cover some of these key issues so you know what to look out for. Keep reading for more.

A Gas Leak

A gas leak can result in no hot water in your home, and depending on the leak, you might be able to deal with it yourself. Check all connections to make sure everything is secure. If you can’t find a leak, you’ll need to call a professional plumber to inspect and repair your water heater.

Make sure you do this immediately, as a gas leak can present a serious safety risk. You might notice it from a “rotten egg” smell in your home. If you think you have a leak, be sure to do the following:

  • Don’t use your phone until you’re far from the suspected leak
  • Close off the gas valve
  • Don’t turn any electrical appliances on or off
  • Don’t ignite anything (e.g. matches or lighters)
  • Don’t try to repair it yourself
  • Call the police and gas utility company as soon as you’re in a safe location

This is one of the more serious plumbing issues that can occur, and a lack of hot water may be the least of your worries.

Gas Valve Failure

Another issue that can occur with a gas water heater is valve failure. It should be secure and in the right position. If it is, double-check that the gas is on.

You might find that everything seems to be in order. In this case, check the pilot light next. You might need to relight it multiple times.

The pilot light should be burning consistently. If it’s not, the gas line might be obstructing the gas supply.

Checking all of this can be complicated, so again, it’s best to hire plumbing experts to be sure everything is how it should be. You may end up having to buy a new water heater if you can’t resolve the problem.

Leaking Hot Water Tank

Water heater tanks need to be full for a water heater to function properly. This can be one of the easiest issues to detect. You should be able to see water around the base of your hot water tank if it’s leaking.

A leaking water heater tank will make your home less energy efficient, and it can lead to other issues. Water damage in a home can become a major problem. It often leads to mold growth, and may even cause structural damage.

It’s best to act as fast as possible if your water heater tank is leaking. Call in a professional plumber as soon as you can. The longer you leave it, the worse it will get, and the more it will cost to have everything fixed.

Electric Water Heater Malfunction

Sometimes you might have water temperature issues, but the cause isn’t always to do with the water heating system itself. Electric heaters often have dedicated circuits and issues with these can result in no hot water.

If you have an electric device you can use as a substitute for wall outlets, you can connect this to your electric water heater. If it’s still not working, then the issue lies within the water heater circuitry.

This can be due to things like loose connections or tripped fuses. With these issues, you may be able to deal with them yourself. If you can’t resolve it, or a fuse keeps tripping, you should call in a professional to investigate.

Thermostat Malfunction

You may want constant hot water, but you should also try to be as energy efficient as possible. Setting your thermostat between about 122°F and 140°F will help maintain this.

If your water is coming out cold (or even too hot) it could be a thermostat issue. Regular maintenance will help keep your thermostat in good order, but if it’s not functioning properly, you should replace it.

A common issue is that the high-temperature cutoff switch is tripped. When this happens, you can simply flip the switch and push a button and it should start working properly again. For more significant issues, you might need a professional to take a look.

Faulty Heating Element

A heating element is a simple, but essential part of your water heating system. In general, water heaters last for about 10 years.

It’s usually better to replace an old system than to repair it, but if your heating element fails in a shorter time, you might want to just replace that part instead.

Incorrect Water Heater Tank Size

If you have a tank that’s too small, your home will be less energy efficient. A small tank will result in your hot water running out quickly, and if your family is growing, this is likely to become an issue. Even if the tank is working fine, it may not be able to keep up with the needs of your family, so it could be a good idea to invest in a bigger one.

What to Do When You’ve Got No Hot Water in the House

When there’s no hot water in the house, there are a few things you can do yourself to try to resolve it. If it’s not a simple fix, you should hire a professional water heater repair company to deal with it. Not only will they ensure everything is in good working order, but they can do so safely so you won’t risk hurting yourself or causing further damage.

For more home-related articles, check out some of our other blog posts.

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