One of the things you really don’t want to experience at home is waking up on a cold morning without hot water in your shower. You may be able to withstand one summer day without air conditioning but a cold shower is just too unbearable. You might as well avoid taking a shower without hot water.

Nobody wants a cold shower in the morning!

Although you don’t need to fix what’s broken in your hot water heater, you at least have to know what’s wrong with it. That’s the least that you can do. So in this article, let us help you figure out what the problem is. After that, you can conveniently call a plumber to fix it for you.

RedBeacon.com, in the article “Why is My Hot Water Not Working?” talks about two possible reasons why your equipment seems to be failing to produce hot water. These reasons are: because your system is just too old that it stopped functioning or perhaps the problem is your thermostat.

Most hot water heaters last over a decade. If yours is older, that might be your problem. An old hot water heater is going to cause problems and may not be worth the financial investment of fixing it. Many experts suggest replacing them entirely every 7 years. If you feel like yours is still useful but leaking, it might be an easy fix, or you could have a defective model.

We know, it sounds obvious but you know the old saying about hoof beats? Think horses, not zebras. The thermostat is the biggest horse. If the number on your thermostat does not match the outcome you are feeling in your water, youll want to check your thermostat. Older models should not spin like loose wheels, they should settle on specific temperatures. If you live in an apartment, check with other tenants to see how they are fairing if you share a thermostat. If they are suffering too, and the thermostat is set to the wrong temperature be sure to test your thermostat throughout the year and replace it if necessary to avoid problems.

Aside from those two probable causes, there are others discussed in here.

The hot water heater in your home, regardless of how expensive and advance it was when you purchased it, will have a date of expiration. It means that you cannot use it for 20 years! Well, as mentioned above, it makes a lot of sense if you replace it once you’ve used it for more than seven years. Don’t try to fix one that’s too old because you’re just wasting your hard-earned money.

This is one good example of a tank that should already be replaced. (photo credit: Horizon Services Inc.)

In another post we came across online, there are three other possible causes why there’s no hot water. See this excerpt from the article “5 Reasons Why Your Hot Water Has Stopped Working,” from Durance Plumbing.

The pilot light. This is the simplest and easiest hot water problem to fix. Check your water heater to make sure the pilot light is still on (check your owners manual if you need helping finding the pilot light, as it is well hidden). If the pilot light is out, then you should follow the manufacturers instructions for how to re-light it.

Gas hot water heaters. If you have a gas hot water heater, then your problem may be caused by a leak in the gas line leading to the appliance. If this is the case, you may notice a rotten egg smell around the water heater. This is a very dangerous problem and should only be handled by professionals, so call your plumber immediately.

Heating element. In the case of not enough hot water, or hot water that is not hot enough, it may be that you need to replace the heating element on your water heater.

Sediment buildup. Over time, water contaminants can build up and harden in the bottom of your water heater, reducing its ability to produce ample hot water. You can combat sediment buildup by cleaning your water heater regularly, softening hard water with a water softening agent, and reducing the temperature of the water heater to 130 degrees. However, if the tank itself is rusty, you cannot remove that buildup and you will have to replace the water heater altogether.

You might as well read the full article here.

While sediment buildup and pilot light issues are things you can easily fix on your own, be reminded that you don’t really have to if you’re not confident with regards to your skills. But if the problem is a leak in the gas line of your gas-powered water heater, the only choice you have is to call a professional to have it check, and do it fast!

From the website Build.com.au, there is a thorough discussion on what you should be doing if the problem leaks in the hot water tank. Here’s what you have to do:

The hot water tank is leaking

If your tank is leaking, this is not something you can fix yourself but you can take steps to shut down the hot water system until a technician arrives.

Turn off gas, water and electricity

If you have a gas system, turn off the gas cock and the water cock. If you have an electric hot water system, make sure you turn off the electricity at the switchboard first.

For a gas system, start by turning off the gas. A gas cock (a small tap) should be located close by – turn it to shut it off. Check carefully to see where the water is coming from. If it is coming from the T&P valve (temperature and pressure valve), see below. Turn off the water cock to reduce the flow, then call a licensed repairer.

If you have an electric system, switch off the power at your houses switchboard before you do anything else, and then follow the other steps above.

Source: http://www.build.com.au/6-hot-water-emergencies-and-how-deal-them

Take note that the way to approach a leaking hot water tank is different from one type of hot water heater to another. So it is best that you fully understand the type of your hot water heater and its fuel source.