The universal sound of someone who just stepped into a freezing cold stream of water. The majority of us prefer our showers to be warm or hot, so when there isn’t any warm water it can be a rather unpleasant experience.
While it may not be the best start to a morning, a lack of hot water does not necessarily mean you have to call a plumber right away. There are a few things you can try at home first that will often clear up the issue.
It could be that this morning you were just simply the last in your family to shower and the tank’s hot water has been depleted. How long it will take to re-fill depends on the size of the tank, whether it is gas or electric, and the temperature of the water coming into the tank. On average, however, an 80-gallon gas water tank takes about an hour to re-fill with warm water.
If this becomes a recurring problem, talk with your family about shower schedules and usages in order to ensure that everyone can have a warm shower. Another option is to invest in a tankless hot water heater. These energy efficient water heaters heat the water on demand so there is never a shortage of hot water.
A common cause of lack of hot water is an unlit pilot light. If your pilot light has gone out this is a fairly easy DIY fix. If you have any questions, consult your owner’s manual or contact a professional HVAC company.
It is possible that the thermostat on your hot water heater was turned down, resulting in a much cooler shower than you would like. Simply adjust the temperature and see if that fixes the problem.
Over time, sediment can build up on the bottom of the hot water tank. This sediment can end up causing a variety of problems. Draining out the tank all of the way can help to get rid of that sediment and should hopefully get your water heater running properly again. Doing this on a regular basis (once per year or so) can also be key to prolonging your water heater’s life.
If, after trying some of these fixes on your own, your hot water heater still isn’t working properly, it is time to call in a professional.