What to do when you have no hot water

Heat Pumps, Electric Heaters, Gas Heaters, Solar Heaters
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Ready to walk into a steamy shower in the morning, only to be hit by a cold blast of icy water? Or, worse, standing in false security through a hot shower, just for it to turn on you in a blink? There are few things worse on a Monday morning (or any time of day, on any day) to lose your hot water. It can be taken for granted, but we not only rely on our hot water every single day, we can also forget that it’s not a perfectly working resource 100 per cent of the time. Occasionally, despite what kind of hot water heating system you have, you will find yourself letting the cold water run just that bit too long in the vain hope it will come back. When this happens, and it does not return, there are a few things you can do to troubleshoot the issue and maybe even get your hot water working again. 

Try turning off the water supply

If your water isn’t running to its full heating capacity, or not at all, it could be a crossed cold/hot water connection. You can find out if this is it by turning off your water supply and then turning just the ‘hot’ tap on. If the water continues to flow, this means it's a crossed connection.  In this instance, clear away excess sediment on your heating elements and see if they have power, and check the thermostat. Replace these if needed. 

Speaking of thermostats…

It’s really important to keep your thermostat running at a temperature between 50 and 62 degrees Celsius. Obviously, this will keep your hot water at optimal temperature. But it will also stop dangerous bacterias growing, which can be harmful to you and your family. If your thermostat is low, bump it up and you should have your ideal hot water temp back within an hour.

If you lose hot water with a gas heater

Check the pilot light/flame

If the gas water heaters pilot light has been blown out by breeze, this can stop it from working its heating magic. All it takes is a safe and steady relight, carefully following the instructions that can be found on the unit itself. If you don’t feel confident or comfortable doing this, or your light is encased, it’s best to call a plumber out for the job. If you smell gas, leave the area immediately, taking everyone out of your house, and notify your gas company that you may have a gas leak. 

If you lose hot water with an electric gas heater

Restart your heater

Power surges can disrupt the live current through your electric hot water system and cause it to not work. When this happens, restart your unit, allowing a few minutes between switching off and on. If this is the only issue with your heater, the hot water should return within 30-40 minutes. If it doesn’t work, you can check your main circuit breaker and do the same thing. If both fail, call a plumber to check out your electric water heater. If you would like to inspect the issues yourself, it is extremely important that you turn off the unit first to avoid electrocution, that could have fatal consequences.

If you lose hot water with a solar hot water system

Clean panels and check for water leaks

Solar hot water is typically very reliable, but the elements can disrupt it working to its full potential, or harm the panels to stop them working at all. The most common cause of solar panel issues is leaking. This is easy to identify: if water is running from your roof and it’s not raining, it’s a fairly high chance that your solar hot water heater's temperature and pressure relief valve is leaking. It's best not to repair this. Instead, replace with a new one or replace the seal. 

If it is not leaking, your panels could be obstructed. Make sure that there are no new overhanging branches, or anything else creating shade over your panels. Also ensure that they are clean of dust, leaves, bird poo and any other debris. 

If your hot water system stops working, following these troubleshooting suggestions will more often than not identify and fix the issue. However, if your hot water continues to not work after checking the vitals, or you simply need more guidance on finding out how to do it, we are available 24/7 to assist. Call us today for any questions or help with your hot water system. 

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