After an arduous day of back-breaking work, all you want is to come home and relax with a hot shower. You drop your clothes, hop into the shower, turn the water on…and get blasted with ice-cold water. You give it 30 seconds to let the water heater catch up, but nothing changes.
How do you escape from this nightmare realm of your hot water not working?
Well, we’re here to save the day! Here’s our guide to the top 7 things you need to do ASAP if you can’t get hot water! Without further ado, let’s take the plunge right into things!
1. Check the Warranty/Lifespan of Your Water Heater
The first thing to consider when your hot water fails is how old your water heater is. Water heaters should last around 10 years, so if you’ve exceeded that number, it’s time to consider swapping the water heater out for a new one altogether.
Looking at the warranty on the water heater will also help, as this can tell you if it’s worth attempting repairs yourself. Some water heater warranties don’t cover new parts for the water heater if you make things worse by going in half-cocked to fix it. Keep that in mind before going MacGyver on your water heater or any plumbing problem.
2. Check the Heater for Leaks (Water or Gas)
Next, inspect your heater to see if you notice any water leaking out or punctured holes in the heater. After all, the heater can’t warm the water if whatever it warms slips out of the heater.
If you own a gas water heater, you’ll also want to take this time to check for gas leaks. When gas leaks, the heater continues expending energy to heat the water. This means more and more gas gets pumps out into your home.
The leaked gas could create a fire or explosion in your house if given a spark. In some cases, it will also spread carbon monoxide through your home, a dangerous gas that can cause health problems from vomiting and dizziness to permanent brain damage and death.
While you’re at it, checking the pipes of the heater for rust is a good idea too. Getting a professional to come in and deal with a rusty pipe is a lot better than waiting for the day the pipe gives in and leaks.
3. Reset the Electrical Heater
If you opted for an electrical water heater over a gas water heater, the problem could lie with an interruption in the electrical connection. Check the circuit breaker in your house to see if the switch flipped off. If the switch is still in the “on” position, set it to “off” and look for a removable panel on the heater for the upper heating element.
You’ll want to then remove any insulation or protectors in the way so you can push the red button above the upmost thermostat. This will perform a sort of reset on the water heater, allowing you to put everything back and then flip the switch for the heater in the circuit breaker back on. With a little luck, this will fix your hot water problem.
4. Thermostat Issues and Sediment Checks
When inspecting your water heater after your hot water disappears, it’s worth investigating the readout on the upper thermostat of the heater. The thermostat should stay in the range of around 120 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If the thermostat gets knocked out of this range, the water will either not heat properly or will heat up too much.
That said, sometimes sediment will clog up the heater, creating problems even if the thermostat works fine. This happens due to the water getting pumped into the heater releasing the sediment and minerals within it when heated. Signs that too much sediment exists in your water heater include dirty water, weird rumbling noises coming from your heater, and inconsistent water temperatures.
Releasing 3-4 gallons of water out of the heater around once a year through a hatch on the bottom will help prevent this buildup.
5. Inspect the Pilot Light
If your heater is gas-powered, you’ll instead want to take a look at the pilot light. If you don’t see a flame, switch the regulator for the pilot light off. Give it around 5-6 minutes so all the gas can go away before you turn it back on. In some cases, you’ll want to use a long lighter to ignite the gas, though this step isn’t needed if you have a self-igniting water heater.
Make sure to check that the gas valve isn’t closed before you take these steps, however. Otherwise, no gas gets through to allow the pilot light to reignite.
6. Look Outside Your Window
Have you not used your water heater for a few days before you tried to get hot water? If this is the case, look outside and check what the weather is like. Cold temperatures can slow down a water heater not in constant use, meaning you’ll need to run it for a while to get it back up to full power.
7. Is Your Hot Water Not Working? Call In Some Backup
When all else fails, calling in some backup to help fix your water heater is the best step you can take. Our team at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing has the know-how to fix your water heater, and we do it fast. This way, you can return to taking long hot showers as soon as possible.
Return of the Relaxing Showers
So, what do you do when you notice your hot water not working? Well, now that you have these 7 steps, you’ll never have to ask yourself that question again! If you need our top-tier team to deliver same-day repairs to your water heater, give us a call!