The hot water heater is one of the most important systems inside the home.
Unfortunately, the water heater does not last forever and will eventually need to be replaced.
Most people don’t know they have a problem until they are trying to figure out why the water heater is not getting as hot.
4 Common Causes For Why The Hot Water Heater Is Not Getting Hot
The pilot light is out (gas hot water heater only)
Hot water is one of the most important things needed in your home in order to live comfortably.
Hot water is needed for personal hygiene, washing the family’s clothes, washing dishes and food preparation.
In order to be able to supply all of the necessary hot water, you need to have a working hot water heater.
Unfortunately, if you happen to experience a problem with the hot water in your home, there is likely a number of causes.
If your home is equipped with a connection to a municipal supply of natural gas, you likely have a gas-powered hot water heater.
If you are finding that your water inside the tank is not getting hot, the problem might be that the pilot light is out and that prevents the gas in the burner from igniting and heating the water.
If your older hot water heater comes with a pilot light as part of the ignition system you need to first check to see if the pilot light is lit or not.
If it turns out that the pilot light is out you can follow a simple procedure to see if you can relight it yourself.
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First, locate the regulator and switch it off and allow the gas to dissipate. After waiting for a few minutes switch the regulator to the pilot light position.
Next, press and hold the ignition knob for 60-seconds and then push the ignition button.
This will allow you to light your pilot using a very long lighter.
There is a gas leak (gas hot water heater only)
As a homeowner with a home that is connected to a municipal natural gas supply line one of the scariest things that can happen is a natural gas leak.
Along with the furnace, the hot water heater is one of the likely sources of any natural gas leak in any residential home.
Unfortunately, natural gas leaks are not exactly easy to detect and usually are only found when you experience problems with one or more of the major systems that use natural gas as a source of fuel.
One of those major systems is the hot water heater.
If you have been experiencing problems with not having a sustained supply of hot water throughout your home it is possible that you could be having a small gas leak.
While natural gas itself is an invisible and odorless gas in its natural state, however, for safety reasons a product called mercaptan is added to the municipal gas supply.
This substance produces a detectable odor of rotten eggs when accidentally released.
To find the source of the leak you want to find the gas inlet valve and shut it off. If you suspect the gas valve is leaking or damaged you can replace the valve.
This should resolve the issue, if not, then you might need to replace the hot water heater instead.
Faulty heating element (electric hot water heater only)
If you begin experiencing issues with the quality of the hot water throughout the house, it is likely there might be some problem with the hot water heater.
If you have an all-electric house you will also have an electric hot water heater.
There are a number of things that can affect the amount or quality of the hot water in the house.
After first checking the breaker for the hot water heater in the main power panel, the next likely cause of lack of hot water or reduced amount of hot water is that the one or both of the heating elements are not working.
After determining the breaker is on, the next thing to do is check the heating elements for proper operation.
After locating where both heating elements are on the water heater you test each one with a multimeter and check of an open condition.
If you find that one or both of the elements need to be replaced you contact the manufacturer inside the owner manual and request the necessary elements.
To replace the elements is a really easy repair and most homeowners should be able to accomplish this task. Be sure that you turn the breaker off inside the power panel.
Since you already have it open and exposed the heating elements you can disconnect the two wires on each element.
Using a Crescent wrench loosen and remove the nut that is holding the heating element in place.
Next, remove the heating element and inspect it. It is likely since it is not working there is probably quite a bit of corrosion all over the element.
Install the new element in each location and reconnect the two wires, being sure that you install the wires correctly.
Be sure that the wires are tight, close everything back up. Turn the breaker back on and wait for the water to heat up.
Defective thermostat (electric hot water heater only)
If you have an all-electric house you will also have an electric hot water heater installed.
This is how all of the hot water is supplied to all parts of the house.
If you are experiencing a reduction or have no hot water anywhere in the house chances are there is a problem with your hot water heater.
There are several things that can cause your hot water heater to no longer heat the water inside the tank.
One of the leading causes is faulty upper or lower thermostat.
The upper thermostat is designed to control the water temperature at the highest range and the lower thermostat is designed to control the water temperature at the lowest temperature range.
The thermostat is connected to the heating elements and if there is a problem with the thermostat the heating elements will not work.
To test the thermostats for their proper operation you will need to gain access to both the upper and lower thermostats that are located behind the main access panel.
You will want to turn the power off to the hot water heater using the breaker inside the main power panel.
Open the access panel and locate both of the thermostats. Using a multimeter check the thermostat and you should get a zero reading.
If you do not get a reading you will need to replace them. Contact the manufacturer to get the correct thermostat(s).
After you replace them and close everything back up and restore the power to the hot water heater.