Something is not right in your home. You turn on the hot water faucet and no hot water comes out! What is going on?
Don’t panic and order a new hot water heater immediately.
The problem might actually be quite minor. You need to do a bit of research on your heater to discover the source of the problem. Here is a brief list to help you troubleshoot.
Pilot Lite Out
Your pilot light might be out, if you have a gas water heater. Re-light it carefully. Don’t be afraid of the pilot light, but use common sense.
If you find that you need to re-light the pilot light again and again, your unit could use some cleaning and maintenance. The orifice might need to be cleaned or the coupling might need to be tightened. Some parts might need to be replaced. Some DIY-ers are capable of this, others are not. A plumber can help you figure out how to keep that pilot lighted.
Temperature Control Low
Your temperature control might be set too low, hence you get lukewarm water (or no hot water at all).
If you have never checked what temperature your hot water heater is set on, do so soon.
Leaking Water Heater
Your heater might have a leak. There are certain tests to perform to determine if you have a leak. Some of them are easy for the DIY-er or you can call a plumber for a full inspection of your heater. If water is leaking through a valve, it will seriously impact the amount and flow of the hot water that you should be receiving.
Water Heater Too Small
Your hot water heater might not be large enough for your family. Here is a simple guide to determine that: you should have at least 15 gallons of water heater capacity for each family member. In other words, a family of four needs a 60-gallon heater if you expect to get hot water consistently. You might not have hot water because someone else just took a 30-minute shower, draining the tank completely.
If you don’t want to buy a larger heater, you will need to stagger your hot water use carefully. If you have the kind of family that lacks the organization or patience to stagger hot water use, you need to go with a bigger tank or a large-capacity tankless water heater.
Your heater’s tank might need repair. If certain parts in the tank’s interior are not doing their job, than the water is not being heated properly. A plumber will most likely be needed to give this type of detailed analysis.
You might not be satisfied with the performance of your heater even when it is fully functional. This is why many people switching to tankless, heat-on-demand heaters. They want instant hot water and lots of it. The elimination of a tank eliminates all of the problems described above, if the tankless heater is large enough to power a shower or two. Some homeowners install several tankless heaters throughout the house, ensuring hot water for all on demand.