Revive Your Cold Showers: How to Fix Water Heater Not Heating

To fix a water heater not heating, check the thermostat and the heating element. Make sure they are both functioning properly.

When a water heater is not heating, it can be a frustrating and inconvenient problem. There are several potential causes for this issue, but the two most common culprits are often the thermostat or heating element. The thermostat controls the temperature of the water and can sometimes malfunction, while the heating element is responsible for generating heat and can fail over time.

If you want to fix a water heater not heating, you will need to troubleshoot these two components and determine if they need to be repaired or replaced. In this article, we will walk you through the steps to diagnose and repair your water heater so that you can enjoy uninterrupted hot water again.

Revive Your Cold Showers: How to Fix Water Heater Not Heating


Common Reasons For Water Heater Not Heating

Having a dysfunctional water heater can be a huge inconvenience, especially during the winter months. The causes of this issue can vary from sediment buildup to faulty heating elements and malfunctioning thermostats. In this section, we’ll discuss the most common reasons for the water heater not heating and their effects.

Sediment Buildup: Cause And Effect

  • Over time, sediment or mineral buildup in the tank can interfere with the heating element’s performance. This affects the water heater’s ability to warm up the water.
  • Sediment buildup can also lead to corrosion and damage to the tank, reducing its lifespan.
  • You may notice loud, rumbling noises coming from your heater or brownish water, which are signs of sediment accumulation.

Faulty Heating Element: Cause And Effect

  • A heating element that has failed or is malfunctioning can cause the water heater not to heat.
  • The hot water supply will be limited, and you may only notice lukewarm or cold water coming out of the faucet.
  • If the heating element’s problem is not addressed promptly, it can cause further damage to other parts of the water heater.

Tripped High-Temperature Cutoff Switch: Cause And Effect

  • The high-temperature cutoff switch in a water heater is a safety feature that detects overheating and stops the heating process.
  • If the switch is faulty or has tripped for any reason, it can prevent the heater from heating water.
  • The high-temperature cutoff switch reset button has to be pushed back into the on position to restore the heating function.

Malfunctioning Thermostat: Cause And Effect

  • A malfunctioning thermostat can cause your water heater not to regulate the temperature correctly, leading to cold or scorching water.
  • Continuous usage and a deterioration of internal components are the usual causes for a faulty thermostat.
  • If the thermostat is malfunctioning, it may also lead to energy wastage and higher bills.

Gas Supply Problems: Cause And Effect

  • If you own a gas-powered water heater, gas supply problems can cause the unit not to heat correctly or at all.
  • The gas supply line or control valve might be obstructed, leading to a lack of gas supply.
  • If the gas supply isn’t the issue, you may notice a disruptive noise or smell coming from your heater, indicating a gas leak that requires immediate attention.

If your water heater has stopped heating water, consider the potential causes mentioned above and evaluate them accordingly. If you’re unsure about the issue, consult a qualified technician to evaluate and resolve the problem. Remember that proper maintenance is crucial in preventing these common issues, including sediment buildup and corroded heating elements.

Step-By-Step Troubleshooting Process

Switch Off The Power Supply And Water Supply

To begin, switch off the power supply and water supply to the water heater before attempting any troubleshooting. This will help avoid any unnecessary accidents and harm to yourself or the water heater.

Inspect/Clean The Heating Element

The heating element is a common culprit when the water heater is not heating. Therefore, it is essential to inspect and clean it thoroughly. Here are the steps you should follow when it comes to inspecting the heating element:

  • Turn off the power supply to the water heater and remove the access panel.
  • Locate the heating element and check for any sign of damage or wear and tear.
  • If the heating element appears to be in good condition, you should check for mineral build-up. Mineral build-up can decrease the heating element’s effectiveness and cause it to stop working altogether. To clean the heating element, use a soft brush or a paper towel to wipe away any mineral deposits.

Check/Replace The Thermostat

If the heating element is not the issue, it may be the thermostat that is malfunctioning. The thermostat regulates the water heater’s temperature, and a faulty one can cause the water to remain cool. To check the thermostat:

  • Turn off the power supply and remove the access panel.
  • Test the thermostat’s continuity using a multimeter. If the multimeter indicates that the thermostat has continuity, it is working correctly.
  • If the thermostat has no continuity, you will need to replace it.

Check/Replace The High-Temperature Cutoff Switch

The high-temperature cutoff switch is a safety feature that prevents the water heater from overheating and causing damage. However, if it is faulty, it can trip and shut off the heating element, causing the water heater to stop working correctly.

To check the high-temperature cutoff switch:

  • Turn off the power supply and remove the access panel.
  • Use a multimeter to test the switch’s continuity.
  • If the switch has no continuity, it needs to be replaced immediately.

Check/Fix The Gas Supply

Suppose you have a gas water heater and are experiencing issues with heating the water. In that case, it could be a problem with the gas supply. Here are the steps to check and fix the gas supply:

  • Check the pilot light to ensure that it is on. If it is off, you should relight it.
  • If the pilot light is on, check the gas supply valve to make sure it is open.
  • Check the gas burner to see if it is dirty or clogged. If so, clean it using a wire brush.

Other Potential Issues To Consider

If none of the above steps solves the issue, it is possible that there is a more significant problem with the water heater. Here are some other potential issues to consider:

  • A faulty gas control valve can cause the water heater to stop functioning correctly. If you suspect this to be the problem, contact a professional plumber for assistance.
  • Sediment build-up in the tank can decrease the water heater’s efficiency and cause it to stop working altogether. Flushing the tank may help resolve this issue.
  • A leak in the tank can also cause the water heater to stop functioning correctly. In this case, you will need to replace the tank or the entire water heater.

Remember, always prioritize your safety when troubleshooting your water heater. If you are unsure about any of the steps outlined here, seek assistance from a professional plumber.

Professional Assistance: When To Call A Technician

Situations Where Diy Troubleshooting May Not Be Enough

If you’re dealing with a water heater problem, you may be considering fixing it yourself to save money. While there are several common issues you can diagnose and fix with some basic knowledge and tools, there are some instances where diy troubleshooting may not be enough.

Here are some situations where you should call a technician:

  • The water heater is making strange noises.
  • The water smells strange or has a strange color.
  • You notice leaks around the tank.
  • You have repeated problems that you have tried to fix, including short bursts of hot water, low water pressure, or inconsistent temperature.
  • You are dealing with a gas water heater and are not experienced in working with gas appliances.

Importance Of Professional Assistance

Getting professional assistance is most important when dealing with a water heater problem. Safety should be a top priority, and having a professional attend to the issue can ensure that everything is taken care of properly. Here are some great reasons to hire a professional:

  • An experienced technician can save you time and perform repairs quickly.
  • You can stay safe by avoiding unnecessary risks associated with diy repairs.
  • A technician will use the correct equipment and tools for the job.
  • Most repairs or replacements come with warranties, guaranteed by the company that performed the repair.

How To Find A Reliable Technician

Finding a reliable technician can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. You can take a few steps to find someone who can handle the job efficiently, safely and without costing you an arm and a leg. Here’s what you need to consider:

  • Get referrals and ask friends and family members for recommendations.
  • Check online reviews, but be aware that not all of them are authentic.
  • Look for licensed and insured technicians.
  • Ask for references and verify them.
  • Compare prices and services offered by different service providers.

What To Expect During A Professional Repair Service

When you finally decide to have a professional technician come over, you can expect them to arrive on time, be fully-equipped, and explain the entire process of the repair. Here’s what typically happens during a professional repair service:

  • The technician will inspect your water heater to diagnose the issue.
  • They will then explain the issue and suggest the best possible solution.
  • On your approval, they will start the necessary repair work.
  • The technician will test the system to ensure everything is working properly.
  • You’ll be told about the steps you should take to maintain your water heater in the future.

By following these guidelines, you’ll be able to tackle water heater issues with greater confidence and make informed decisions about when you need to call in a professional repair service.

Preventative Maintenance Tips

How To Fix Water Heater Not Heating: Preventative Maintenance Tips

Water heaters are essential in daily life, providing hot water for showering, cooking, and cleaning. However, you may experience trouble with your water heater not heating up the water. Regular maintenance can prevent this from happening and keep your water heater functioning properly.

In this post, we will discuss different preventative maintenance tips to ensure that your water heater stays in top condition.

Importance And Benefits Of Regular Maintenance

Neglecting to maintain your water heater may result in decreased energy efficiency, reduced lifespan, and costly repairs. Here are some reasons why regular maintenance is so important:

  • Saves money: Regular maintenance can help you save money by increasing energy efficiency and decreasing the need for costly repairs.
  • Prevents damage: Regular inspections can help you discover and fix any damage before it turns into bigger, more expensive issues.
  • Longer lifespan: When properly maintained, your water heater will last longer and operate more efficiently.
  • Improved performance: Regular maintenance can also improve the performance of your water heater, ensuring it provides hot water when you need it.

Recommended Maintenance Schedule

Here are some recommended maintenance steps to follow to keep your water heater functioning properly:

  • Twice a year, drain the water heater’s tank to remove any sediment buildup.
  • Inspect the anode rod twice a year to ensure it’s in good condition.
  • Test the pressure relief valve once a year by opening and closing it.
  • Check the water heater’s thermostat and adjust it as needed once a year.

Diy Maintenance Tips And Tricks

Some of the maintenance tasks can be performed by homeowners. Here are some diy maintenance tips and tricks:

  • Turn off the power or gas to the water heater before performing any maintenance tasks.
  • Once a month, open and close the pressure relief valve to ensure it’s functioning correctly.
  • Inspect the anode rod every six months to ensure it’s intact and has not corroded.
  • Check the tank’s external components and piping for leaks and corrosion every six months.

Professional Service Options And Costs

Some water heater maintenance tasks require the assistance of a professional. Here is an overview of different service options and their associated costs:

  • Annual inspection and flush: $80-$200
  • Replacement of the pressure relief valve: $150-$300
  • Replacement of anode rod: $100-$200
  • Tank flush and cleaning: $100-$300

Preventative maintenance is key to ensuring that your water heater stays operational and efficient. Follow the recommended maintenance schedule and perform the required maintenance tasks or hire a professional service to keep your water heater functioning correctly.

Frequently Asked Questions Of How To Fix Water Heater Not Heating

Why Is My Water Heater Not Heating Up?

There could be several reasons behind this issue such as thermostat malfunction, a faulty heating element, or sediment buildup. Check your thermostat and heating element first, and if that doesn’t solve the problem, consider draining your tank to remove any built-up sediment.

How Often Should I Drain My Water Heater?

Experts recommend draining your water heater at least once a year to remove sediment buildup that can reduce efficiency and damage the heating element. In areas with hard water, more frequent draining may be necessary. Consult your unit’s manual for specific instructions.

Can A Faulty Thermostat Cause A Water Heater To Stop Heating?

Yes, a broken thermostat can result in a water heater not heating up. If the thermostat is faulty, it may not be signaling the heating element to turn on. A replacement thermostat could be the solution to this issue.

Is It Safe To Replace A Water Heater Heating Element Myself?

If you have experience working with electricity and plumbing, it may be safe. However, for those without experience, it’s best to seek the help of a qualified professional to avoid injury or damage to the unit. Make sure to turn off the power and water supply before starting any work.

How Long Should A Water Heater Last?

On average, a well-maintained water heater lasts between 8 to 12 years. However, this lifespan can vary depending on the quality of the unit, frequency of use, and maintenance performed. Regular maintenance like draining the tank and checking the temperature and pressure relief valve can extend the heater’s life.


After following the above steps, your water heater should be back to heating water. Remember, proper maintenance can prevent future issues from occurring. Schedule regular check-ups with your professional plumber to ensure that your water heater is in good condition.

Also, make sure that you are using it correctly and not overusing it beyond its capacity. Taking good care of your water heater can prolong its lifespan and save you a lot of money in the long run. Don’t hesitate to call a professional if you experience any difficulties in the process or if you’re not confident in performing any of these steps.

With these tips, you can have a fully functional water heater that will provide hot water for your daily needs. Thank you for reading!