There are few worse feelings in the world than going to wash your hands or hop in the shower and finding out that you have no hot water. The average person uses around 80-100 gallons of water per day, and a lot of this is hot water, which means that going without it is a huge blow.
You need to restore your hot water fast. Yet how should you go about troubleshooting this issue? What are some common issues that could be behind your lack of hot water?
In this guide, we’re going to take a look at what could be causing your hot water problems and what you should do about them.
If you’re ready to restore your hot water fast, then read on!
1. A Leaking Hot Water Tank
If you don’t have any hot water in your hot water tank, then guess what? You’re not going to be able to get any hot water out of your faucet.
This problem can be very serious: your hot water tank could be leaking into your home’s crawlspace or down your walls and causing serious water damage that will cost you a lot of money to repair.
Stand near your water heater and see whether you can hear a dripping or a rushing sound. If you can, your tank is likely leaking. If you don’t, you should check the pipes and valves that feed into the heater and make sure that they’re all secure.
You should also check inside the water compartment and see whether there’s any water inside the tank.
If there is a leak, turn off the electric or gas heating and then cut off the water flow to the tank before calling out a water heater repair specialist.
2. Is the Weather Affecting Your Hot Water?
When it’s colder outside, your hot water tank has to work harder to heat the water. The ambient temperature is low, so the water has to be warmed more before it’s ready to use.
If you only turn your water heater on when you need to use it and it’s cold outside, you may not have given it enough time to heat through. Even in warmer areas, cold weather can increase the time needed to heat the water.
3. Frozen Pipes
Leading on from the last point, severe cold weather can also cause the pipes to freeze. This is relatively easy to diagnose as the pipes will be ice cold to the touch if they are frozen.
Frozen pipes can sometimes cause pipes to split, as water expands when it freezes, so you may have a leak on your hands once you’ve defrosted the pipes: be warned. To defrost hot water pipes, you need to use a hairdryer, a heat gun, or a fan heater to heat up the pipe gradually, melting the ice until the water can flow through again.
When you’ve defrosted the pipe, check the length of it to make sure that there are no leaks. If you find any, you may need to get that section of the pipe replaced by a professional.
4. Your Tank Is Too Small
If your tank isn’t big enough, you’re going to run out of hot water. It’s as simple as that.
A tank that is suitable for one or two people may not be suitable for a family of five. Diagnosing this problem is easy. If your tank is too small, the problem will happen every day at the same time.
You’ll start with hot water and then it will dry up.
If your tank is too small, you’ll need to get a replacement or try a tankless water heater. Fitting these is a difficult task, and you should call out a plumber.
5. Circuit Breaker Issues
Many people have called out a plumber only to find that the issue lies with their circuit breaker. From time to time, certain things can make your circuit breaker flip, which can cut off the power supply to your water heater.
Go to your circuit breaker and see if any of the switches are down. If they are, flip them back up and see if that has restored the hot water supply (you may need to wait for the water to heat back up).
If the switch won’t flip back up, there’s something wrong with the tank’s wiring, and you should call an electrician.
6. A Gas Leak
If your tank is gas heated, you may have a gas leak on your hands. If this is the case, this is a very dangerous situation, and you need to proceed with caution.
You’re likely to know if there’s a gas leak: you’ll notice a smell like rotten eggs. If you smell this sulfurous smell or suspect there is a gas leak for another reason, turn off the gas to your house by finding your gas shutoff valve. Open all the windows and doors to your home and let the gas escape and don’t use any electrical equipment or naked flames until it’s all cleared.
A plumber should be able to diagnose and fix a gas leak for you. Do not attempt this yourself.
7. Bad Heating Elements
Heating elements don’t last forever, and if they stop working then you’re going to be out of hot water. While you can replace them, you’re often better off buying a new water heater.
If you choose to replace them, then you’ll need to make sure that you switch off the electricity or gas supply to your heater before you start work.
No Hot Water? Now You Know Why
If you’ve got no hot water, you’re bound to be frustrated. However, help is at hand. Use our guide and troubleshoot your heater, then call out the appropriate professional to repair your water heater.
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