Nobody, and we mean nobody, likes starting up the shower on a cold morning only to discover there is no hot water.

Unless you’re a penguin, you probably don’t enjoy cold showers. And if you’re the kind of person who, you know, thinks it’s important to wash dishes after every meal, you’ve got multiple reasons to want consistent, reliable hot water in your home.

Still, things happen. If there’s no hot water in your house all of a sudden, you probably have an issue with – you guessed it! – your water heater.

The problem could be something else, sure. But in all likelihood, there’s something going on with your water heater or the plumbing connected to it. Let’s explore the most common reasons you might experience no hot water in the shower, your kitchen sink, or really anywhere in your home.

You might have a leak

Before getting into specific water heater issues, let’s just acknowledge that there could be a leak at the water supply feeding into your water heater. If this is the case, there might not be any water going into the heater. In other words, there’s nothing for the water heater to heat!

This can happen with any type of water heater, whether gas or electric. It’s also a likely scenario when there isn’t any water coming out of the hot water side of the sink or shower.

Go check and see if there’s water leaking around the water heater tank. If there is, a leak is probably your issue. Shut off the main water supply and call a plumber before your water bill gets any scarier!

Gas water heater and no hot water? Here’s what’s up

When gas water heaters stop heating, it’s usually due to one of these issues:

  • Bad thermocouple: The thermocouple is a little probe that senses whether the pilot light is on. It will stop the gas from getting to the unit if the flame goes out. That’s all fine and good until something goes wrong with the thermocouple! If it gets dirty or gets knocked out of the flame, it won’t work right. A plumber can replace it for you.
  • Pilot light out: Speaking of pilot lights, sometimes they really do go out! A plumber can relight it per the water heater manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Bad glow plug or spark igniter: Newer water heaters don’t have pilot lights. They have glow plugs or spark igniters. Sometimes these parts malfunction and need to be repaired or replaced.
  • Gas leaks: If you’ve got one of these, no hot water in your house might be the least of your problems. Gas leaks can be dangerous! Shut off the main gas valve leading to your home, leave the premises, and call the gas company.
  • Sediment buildup: This usually doesn’t lead to no hot water. It usually results in warm-but-not-so-hot water. But maybe you’re here because this is your issue! If you can’t remember the last time you replaced the anode rod in your water heater, you might have sediment or scale in your tank. This can block the heat from transferring to the water properly.

No hot water with an electric water heater? This could be your problem

Got an electric water heater? When it comes to conventional electric water heater tanks, here are some things that can go wrong:

  • Tripped breaker: Check your breaker box! If the breaker for your water heater is tripped, switch it back into position. Your water heater should start back up. If your breaker isn’t tripped, then you might have a…
  • Bad heating element: Your electric water heater uses a heating element. It’s kind of like the element in your oven, dishwasher, or toaster. Sometimes, these parts go bad! A plumber can drain the tank and safely install the element after shutting off power to the water heater.
  • Tripped limit switch: Occasionally, something will trip the limit switch on your electric water heater. This switch is designed to shut off the water heater when the water gets dangerously hot. Sometimes, a power surge will trip this switch even if the water isn’t too hot. On most water heaters, there’s a red reset button that you can press to start it up again. You’ll typically need to remove the access panel and push back some insulation to find this switch.

Heat pump water heaters are also electric, but they work differently. Unlike conventional electric tanks, they don’t use a heating element to heat your water. Instead, heat pump water heaters remove heat from the ambient environment to keep your water hot. Sometimes, the heat exchangers in these units can fail, but it’s rare. If the water from your heat pump water heater starts feeling less hot than usual, you may have sediment or scale buildup inside the water heater.

What if your tank is just… old?

Sometimes, water heaters simply wear out. Maybe the sediment buildup makes it hard for the unit to heat water. Or maybe the repair costs are mounting and it’s not worth it to keep the tank.

In other cases, small young families become larger, more established families with greater hot water needs. Your small tank might have served you well when it was just two adults and a baby. But if you’ve got two adults and three teenagers, you might regularly find yourself with no hot water.

In cases like these, the best bet is to have a licensed plumber replace the water heater.

Having no hot water in your house is, well, no fun at all!

But there’s almost always a solution. If you live in Metro Atlanta and are having trouble with no hot water from your water heater, PV can help!

Give us a call at (404) 994-2229 today or fill out the form below to get in touch!

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