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It is disappointing to turn on your bathroom sink, washing machine, dishwasher, or shower just to find that there's no hot water running. You don't have to panic if you are dealing with this problem.
The best action is to find the cause of the problem so that it can be resolved ASAP. Several issues could be causing the lack of hot water in your home. This article examines why there is no hot water in your home or business.
Reasons Why You Have No Hot Water
Before hot water reaches your showerheads and taps, it stays in your water heater for some time. This appliance, which could be a gas or electric water heater, takes the cold water flowing into your home from the water source and heats it.
However, if your water heater leaks, the tank will not get filled with water. Consequently, the heater will have nothing to warm. To determine if your hot water system has a leak, you should inspect the area around the heater to determine if it's wet.
If there are signs of a leak, you could hire a plumber to check if the leak is repairable or whether you need to replace the tank. If a water leak occurs around the fixtures on the heater, the best option is to replace them, as constant repairs might prove to be more expensive in the long run.
If you use a gas hot water heater, the lack of hot water might also result from a leak in the gas supply line or the area where the supply line is connected to the tank. With such leaks, your water heater lacks enough power to heat the water. This leads to cold water flowing out of your hot water taps.
Additionally, a gas leak poses a significant risk to your home. Therefore, if you smell gas when inspecting your water heater, you should call your gas company immediately and report this as an emergency.
Your gas company will fix the gas leak and prevent fire incidents. To get your heater working again, you should relight the pilot light to find out if it's working correctly.
Pilot light issues
Two other problems with your gas water heater could lead to the loss of hot water in your home or business. One of the problems is a blown-out pilot light. The pilot light leads to the constant flame in your heater. When the water heater wants to heat water, it opens a valve that forces the gas to flow over the pilot light, which then causes it to ignite.
You can check if the pilot light is functioning through a small window in front of the water heater. If you don't see a flame, remove the access panel to find out if you can locate it. If there is no flame, you should relight it per the manufacturer's guidelines contained in the user manual or on the side of your water tank.
The flame being produced by the pilot light should be bright blue in colour. If not, check to see whether there is a draft that might be causing it not to work properly and deal with that. If there is no draft and the flame is yellow, this is a sign of a carbon monoxide problem that needs to be fixed by a technician.
A faulty thermocouple could also be the reason why your water heater is not heating water. A thermocouple is a small device located in the pilot light flame to help stop gas flow when it senses the pilot light is out. Sometimes the thermocouple could get knocked off track. Therefore, ensure that it is always directly in the flame.
It could also accumulate build-up, resulting in a malfunction. To deal with this, you could simply clean the build-up with fine-grit sandpaper or steel wool. As the last resolve, you might replace it if it fails to function well.
Electric water heaters heat water using electricity. A faulty circuit breaker is one of the primary reasons your electric system is not heating. The breaker might trip, cutting the power supply to the water tank.
If you find that your hot water taps are producing cold water, you should inspect the breaker box for tripped breakers. If there are any, return them to the on position. If the breaker trips again, there might be a problem with the water heater. Consequently, you should call a plumber to inspect and fix the problem.
Reaching temperature limit
If the circuit breaker works correctly, you should determine if the heater's high-temperature limit has been switched off. To do the inspection, you should start by turning off the unit breaker.
Then, remove the service panel and press the red button, known as the limit switch. You can reset it to solve the issue. Replace the service panel, turn on the circuit breaker and find out if the heater is working correctly.
Issues with the heating element
A faulty heating element could also result in a lack of hot water in your home. If, after inspection, you find that the heating element is not working correctly, the best option is to replace it.
Ageing water heater
A water heater's lifespan is around ten to fifteen years. If your heater is that old or older and fails to heat water, the best thing is to replace it with a new one. It's advisable to replace your tank or tankless water heater when it approaches the end of its lifespan to avoid being surprised by unexpected cold water in your home.
Gas valve failure
If your gas water heater is not heating water, the problem might result from a faulty gas supply tube and gas inlet valve. The valve should always be in the correct position and secured for the system to work efficiently.
Inspect the pilot light to discover whether the valve is working correctly. If the pilot light is not burning consistently, this might indicate that the gas supply is restricted. If so, you should seek help from your plumbing specialist.
Problem with the gas supply
If the hot water issue is not due to the ignitor or pilot light, it might be due to your gas supply. Therefore, inspect your gas supply line for bends or kinks. This is because a slight bend in the pipe might make it hard for the gas to reach the water heater.
If there is no discernible reason as to why the gas is not reaching your water heater, you should contact your gas company for more advice on the best action to take.
When To Replace Your Hot Water System
If you keep getting cold water in your home or business, it might be time to replace your hot water system. Economically, constantly repairing your water heater or its fixtures might prove to be more expensive in the long run. So, when should you replace the tank?
Constantly hearing knocking sounds
If you hear knocking sounds from your tank, chances are there is sediment build-up at the bottom of the heater. The build-up could form a blockage between the heating elements, which could cause the tank to overheat. Immediately call a reliable plumber in your locality as this problem could cause an explosion if not fixed immediately.
Tank is leaking
If your tank is leaking, this could indicate that it is worn out. The leak might result from corrosion in the water tank, which could eventually cause your water heater to burst. The best way to remedy this issue is to replace your tank.
Discoloured hot water flowing from the taps
If you start to notice rusty or brown hot water, chances are that the water tank is corroding from the inside. This is a common sign of a failing or degrading water heater. Therefore, if the water heater is rusting, you should look into replacing it because, eventually, it will start leaking.
Water heater is older than ten years
A typical hot water heater has an average lifespan of around ten to fifteen years. However, its lifespan will be shorter if you don't maintain your water tank. If your hot water system is greater than ten years old and is producing cold water, it's time to replace it. Trying to repair the system will only cost you more money and might not solve the problem.
Still No Hot Water? Call A Professional Plumber
If you still don't have hot water after trying out the applicable DIY solutions provided above, the best option is to call an experienced plumbing contractor to help. A plumber has the necessary skills and knowledge to professionally inspect your entire system to determine the cause of the problem.
They also use the latest techniques and tools to diagnose and solve the hot water problem. A professional plumber could also help with issues such as blocked drains and other plumbing repairs.