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What to Do if Hot Water Is Not Working?

Hot water is an essential part of our daily lives, from showering to doing laundry, washing dishes, or making tea. But what happens if you turn on the tap and nothing comes out? The thought alone can be somewhat intimidating, especially during the colder months. Don’t panic, though, as it could be a relatively simple fix.

In this blog post, we’ll outline some of the most common reasons why hot water may not be working and what you can do to fix it.


What Can Cause the Hot Water to Stop Working?

Sediment Buildup in the Tank

One of the common reasons why the hot water may stop working is sediment buildup in the water tank. When hard water enters the tank, sediment or mineral deposits start to accumulate at the bottom.

Over time, the deposits can cause damage to the heating element and the water tank. This can lead to a reduction or a complete halt of hot water.

The best solution is to hire a professional to drain and flush the sediment. They can also advise on measures to reduce future buildup.

Faulty Heating Element

The heating elements in the tank are responsible for heating the water. Any fault in them can cause a hot water shortage. A damaged heating element may show signs, such as a drop in temperature, strange noises, or a burning smell. If you experience any of these, it’s essential to call an expert to investigate further and replace the faulty heating element.

Thermostat Issues

Water heaters have a thermostat to regulate the temperature of the water. Over time, the thermostat may malfunction, causing hot water problems. If your water isn’t heating correctly, consider checking the thermostat setting and ensure it’s set correctly to the desired temperature. If you’re still experiencing difficulties, it’s best to call in a professional plumber to install a new thermostat.

Power Supply Issues

If you use an electric water heater, the hot water production can get interrupted if you have power supply issues. The power supply issues may be electrical failure from the water heater itself or an issue from the circuit breaker. If you experience hot water failure, be sure to check the circuit breaker to ensure it’s okay. If the circuit breaker is not the issue, a professional electrician can help fix the electrical issue.

An Older or Non-Functioning Water Heater

If you have an older or non-functioning water heater, you may need to consider replacing it. While most water heaters are designed to last around 10 years, if your water heater is older than that, it’s likely time for a replacement.

Signs of an aging or non-functioning water heater include rust on the tank, noisy operation, and hot and cold patches when showering. You may also find decreased hot water pressure and a decrease in hot water temperature as the water heater ages.

What to Do if Hot Water Is Not Working?

Here are some simple troubleshooting steps you can take to fix your hot water issue.

Check the Pilot Light

The pilot light is a small blue flame that should stay on continuously and ignite the main burner inside the water heater. If it goes out, the water won’t heat up, and you’ll be stuck with cold water. To see if the pilot light is out, locate the water heater, usually found in the basement, garage, or closet. Check if the pilot light is off or flickering. If it’s out, try lighting it again following the manufacturer’s instructions. Be careful when handling the heater and follow safety precautions.

Check the Thermostat

The thermostat on the water heater controls the temperature of the water. If the thermostat is not set correctly, the water won’t heat up. The recommended temperature is 120°F (49°C). Check if the thermostat is set correctly and adjust if necessary. If the thermostat is faulty, it needs to be replaced.

Check for Power Supply

If your water heater is an electric one, make sure it’s receiving power. Check the circuit breaker box to see if the breaker for the water heater has tripped off. If it has, reset the breaker and see if that solves the problem. If the breaker trips repeatedly, there may be a deeper issue and it’s best to call a plumber for assistance.

Check for Sediment Buildup

Water heaters accumulate sediment and minerals that settle at the bottom of the tank, causing it to work harder to heat the water. Over time, this can cause damage to the heating elements, leading to a breakdown in performance. To check for sediment buildup, locate the drain valve at the bottom of the tank, and attach a hose to it to empty the tank.

Be cautious as the water will be scalding hot. If the water is murky, that means there is sediment buildup, and it needs to be flushed out. It’s recommended to flush the water heater tank once a year to prevent sediment buildup.

Call for Professional Help

If all else fails, and you’re still having issues getting hot water, it’s best to call a professional plumber. They have the knowledge, experience, and tools to assess the problem and provide a quick solution. It may cost you some money, but it’s worth it for the peace of mind and to avoid further damage.


Overall, having a broken hot water system can be a stressful and inconvenient experience. Keeping an eye out for the signs listed above to determine whether your system is failing can help you to get it fixed quicker and reduce the amount of disruption caused.

At Guardian Plumbers we have extensive experience and expertise in repairing or replacing hot water systems, from repairing existing ones to installing new units. We guarantee your satisfaction in our quality workmanship and customer service.

With Guardian Plumbers, you know that you are in good hands – ensuring your peace of mind and providing expert services to meet all of your plumbing needs!

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