When your water isn’t heating up, one thing is for certain. You need a water heater repair service to fix your hot water heater. Find out some of the common reasons hot water heaters stop working and learn what you should do to get your water warm again.

There’s No Water in the Storage Tank

If you have a traditional tank hot water heater, your water is only hot if there is hot water in the tank. The system works by heating up water in the tank and keeping it warm until you’re ready to use it. When you turn on the hot tap, your heater sends hot water to you.

If there’s no more water left in the tank, you won’t have hot water coming out of your taps. Most of the time, your lack of hot water is caused by too many appliances running at once, or too many people bathing at once. After the tank reheats water, you can get back to using your McHenry plumbing.

To find out if this is the problem, wait ten minutes and try your water again. If you just ran out of hot water, your issue will resolve itself, and the water will be warm. In the event that this happens frequently, you may need a new hot water heater. Every tank has limitations. Before you install a new hot water heater, you should know your tank’s abilities.

Look into the flow rate, recovery time, and capacity of your hot water heater. If you have a large family, your tank may not be able to meet your demand for water. Either stagger your water usage or get a new hot water tank. If you don’t, you’ll continue to run out of hot water with your McHenry plumbing.

There’s No Gas Supply

Obviously, this is only an issue for gas hot water heaters. If you don’t have any gas supply, your heater won’t be able to heat water at all. Typically, there are two reasons for this problem. First, there could be a blocked fuel line. If debris is blocking the line, your water heater won’t have any fuel to warm the water. Secondly, there might be no gas. It’s possible that someone turned off the gas supply.

The Pilot Light is Out

Sometimes, the issue is as simple as an extinguished pilot light. You can check this by turning the control line to the pilot setting. Check that the inlet valve is open and remove the bottom cover of the heater. Is there a flame? If not, your pilot light is out. You may just need to relight it. However, you should read your water heater’s manual before you do anything. Gas and fire make a dangerous combination.

In the event that the pilot light won’t ignite, you could have a defective thermocouple. Replacing this is a tricky job and often requires the expertise of a plumber. It’s also important to know that not all hot water heaters have pilot lights. Some new heaters use glow plugs or spark igniters. Always look at your owner’s manual before trying to fix it yourself.

The Burner Won’t Ignite

On gas heaters, a burner heats up the water. If you don’t have warm water, the issue could stem from the burner. Check to see if the burner is lit, and then turn the thermostat up. Open one of your hot water faucets in the house, and watch the burner. If the burner doesn’t ignite, you need help. There is no DIY fix to a broken hot water heater burner.

The Breaker is Tripped

If you have an electric water heater, none of the above issues apply to you. Electric systems rely on electricity, not natural gas, to heat up water. Instead of a gas problem, you could have an electrical issue. The first thing you should do if you lose hot water is to check the circuit breaker box. Are there any tripped breakers? If so, reset the breaker and see what happens. Even if the diagram doesn’t show the tripped breaker connected to the water heater, try resetting it. The diagrams are often inaccurate.

If the breaker trips frequently, you have a more serious problem. Instead of finding a plumber, you might need an electrician. Your electrical system may not be able to meet your electric demands.

The Cut-Off Switch is Tripped

Your electric hot water heater has a high-temperature cut-off switch. When the switch trips, the heater stops working, and the system won’t produce any hot water. If you have no hot water, check the switch. It’s located on the side of the tank, on a panel. You can hit the reset button to turn your hot water heater back on. If restoring the power does nothing, you might need a new switch.

This should not be an ongoing issue. If your switch continues to cut out, you should consult with a plumber. You may have an underlying issue that you need a professional to address.

You Tank is Leaking

Is there a pool of water around your heater’s tank? If so, the cause of your cold water woes could be a leaking tank. A leak would make the water pool in the compartment or under the tank. If the water gets into your thermostat, the whole system could stop working.

Defective Heating Elements

As you continue to use your hot water heater, its parts will wear down. One of the parts that gets the most abuse is the heating element. If the heating elements on your heater go out, you won’t have any hot water. You could fix the elements to restore your hot water, but this might not be the best option.

Call a Water Heater Repair Service

When your heating elements go out, it could be time for a new heater. Water heaters only have a lifespan of about ten years. You can contact us and our water heater repair service for advice on what to do. Call us at J. Blanton Plumbing to learn more.