Hot Water

7 Steps On What To Do when Your Hot Water Is Not Working

Scott Markham - Monday, June 16, 2014

7 Steps On What To Do When Your Hot Water Is Not Working


Nothing screams domestic emergency more than running out of hot water. When you’re preparing for a new day at work and you hop into the shower only to realize that there is no hot water, you might just scream out your frustration. But rather than letting such a problem ruin your entire day, why not simply learn in advance how to resolve such an issue? There are many possible reasons why your hot water supply would run out.


Aside from running out, rust-coloured water could come out or the water could smell bad. You might also hear a rumbling or popping noise while the hot water is in use. If there’s water leaking around the base of the heater or if you hear a high-pitched whining noise, these are also signs of trouble. Essentially, the way to resolve the problem is by figuring out the root cause first, then creating a solution from there.


What to Do When Your Hot Water Supply Runs Out


If you have a standard tank-type water heater with an insulated storage tank and you are having problems with the hot water supply, here are seven possible scenarios and how you can deal with them:

  1. 1. Prepare safely for the job of resolving your water heater problem.

No matter what the reason is behind your hot water problem, there are a few preparatory steps that you need to follow first. Number one, make sure to turn off the fuel source – be it electric or gas. Turn off the circuit breaker or fuse which is powering the heater. For gas-operated heaters, shut off the valve which supplies gas to the water heater. Second, turn the gas pilot control valve to a pilot setting – then shut off the water supply.


  1. 2. Find out why no hot water is being produced.

If there is no hot water being produced, the problem could be caused by a faulty gas pilot, thermocouple or control valve. Check on the owner’s manual to see if you can do any basic troubleshooting steps. However, the basic solution would be to retighten or reposition the gas thermocouple, or to outright replace the control valve for the gas pilot.


  1. 3. Is there inadequate supply of hot water?

If you have a big family, did you purchase a hot water tank that will support your needs? It could be that your tank is undersized for the demand. Other possible reasons include fuel source problems, control problems, faulty plumbing installation or a broken dip tube which causes the hot and cold water to mix inside the tank. Based on the reason, you can perform some troubleshooting steps like replacing the cold water inlet and pipe nipple if necessary.


  1. 4. How to resolve rust-coloured hot water.

Corrosion is the number one cause of rust-coloured water. For this, you simply need to replace the sacrificial anode rod, which can be bought from plumbing supply stores.



5. Does the water coming out of the faucet or showerhead smell like rotten eggs?

If the water smells like rotten eggs, it could be caused by sediment settling down at the bottom of the tank. You can do a flushing of the water heater for this, while also using a peroxide solution to get rid of the unpleasant smell.


  1. 6. Do you hear a low rumbling or popping noise?

Sediment build-up can also be the cause of that low rumbling or popping noise in your water heater. To resolve, go through the steps of flushing the water heater.


  1. 7. Is there water leaking around the base of the heater?

Finally, if there is water leaking around the base of the heater, it could be caused by faulty relief valves or leaks from a nearby plumbing connection. Possible solutions include replacing valves for leaks, reducing the thermostat setting to prevent overheating, and water replacement if the bottom of the tank has marks of rust.
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