Revive Your Cold Showers: What to Do If Water Heater is Not Heating

To fix a water heater not heating, check the power source and reset any tripped breakers. If the power supply is not the issue, the heating element or thermostat may need to be replaced.

A lack of hot water can be a frustrating issue, and identifying the problem is the first step in finding a solution. There could be a range of reasons why your water heater is not heating, including a faulty heating element, a blown fuse, or a malfunctioning thermostat.

Before you attempt to fix the problem, it’s important to turn off the power and access the heater’s components. In this article, we’ll discuss some potential causes for a water heater not heating, and provide some tips for troubleshooting the issue.

Revive Your Cold Showers: What to Do If Water Heater is Not Heating


Common Causes Of Water Heater Failure

A malfunctioning water heater can be a big inconvenience, especially when you depend on it for your daily needs. Identifying the underlying problem can help you determine if you can fix the issue yourself or if you need to call in a professional.

Here are some common causes of water heater failure:

Age Of The Water Heater

Plain paragraph:

The age of your water heater is one of the leading causes of failure. As the unit ages, it becomes less efficient, requiring more energy to function. If your water heater is more than ten years old, it may be time to replace it.

Sediment Buildup

Bullet points:

  • Sediment can accumulate at the bottom of your water heater, reducing the unit’s efficiency.
  • The sediment can affect the heating of the water, causing it to take longer to heat up.
  • It can also cause the unit to overheat, leading to damage.
  • It’s important to flush your water heater regularly to prevent sediment buildup.

Broken Heating Elements

Bullet points:

  • The heating elements in your water heater can break, causing your water heater to stop heating the water.
  • If you notice the water is not as hot as it used to be, this is a sign the heating elements may need replacing.
  • You can replace the heating elements yourself, but it’s best to call in a professional to carry out the job.

Faulty Thermostat

Plain paragraph:

A faulty thermostat is another common cause of water heater failure. If the thermostat is not working correctly, it can affect the temperature of the water, causing it to be too hot or not hot enough. You can test the thermostat by measuring the temperature of the water with a thermometer.

If the temperatures don’t match, you may need to replace the thermostat.

Power Supply Issues

Bullet points:

  • Power supply issues can also cause water heater failure.
  • If the power supply to your water heater is interrupted, the unit may stop heating the water.
  • Check the circuit breaker or fuse to ensure that the power supply is not the problem.
  • If the power supply is the problem, call a professional to inspect and repair the unit.

Using the tips highlighted above, you can quickly identify the cause of your water heater failure and determine the most appropriate way to fix the issue. Remember to always prioritize safety when it comes to handling electrical equipment and if unsure, call in a professional to help.

Signs Of A Failing Water Heater

If you’re having issues with your water heater, you may be wondering what steps you can take to resolve the problem. One common issue people face is a water heater that fails to heat properly. In this section, we’ll discuss some of the key signs to look out for that could indicate your water heater is failing.

No Hot Water Or Inconsistent Heating

  • One of the clearest indicators of a failing water heater is a lack of hot water. If you’re unable to get any hot water out of your faucets or showerhead, it could be a sign that your water heater isn’t functioning properly.
  • Another sign to watch out for is inconsistent or fluctuating water temperature. If you’re constantly adjusting the temperature controls on your water heater, this could indicate that the heating element is struggling to keep up with demand.

Strange Noises From The Water Heater

  • If you hear unusual sounds coming from your water heater, this could be a sign that the heating element is starting to fail. Common noises include rumbling, popping, or banging sounds, which could indicate a buildup of sediment in the tank.
  • If you hear a high-pitched whining or screeching sound, this could be a sign that the heating element is struggling to operate and may need to be replaced.

Leaks Around The Water Heater

  • Any visible signs of water around your water heater should be taken seriously. Leaks can indicate a variety of issues, including a faulty pressure relief valve, a damaged tank, or a corroded heating element.
  • If you notice water pooling around the base of your water heater, this could indicate a serious issue that requires immediate attention from a professional plumber or repair technician.

Foul Odor From The Water

  • If your hot water has a strong, unpleasant odor, this could be a sign that bacteria is growing inside your water heater tank. Over time, this can lead to discoloration and foul-smelling water.
  • Another possible cause of unpleasant odors is a buildup of sediment or other debris inside the tank. This can also cause the water to appear discolored or murky.

Troubleshooting And Fixing The Issues

Are you having issues with your water heater not heating up as it used to? If yes, then hold on, because we are here to help you troubleshoot and fix the issue. Here are some steps you can take:

Check The Power Supply And Heating Elements

To check if your water heater is receiving power, follow these steps:

  • Check if the unit is getting electricity by ensuring the circuit breaker isn’t tripped.
  • Verify that the thermostat in use is correctly set.
  • Look for any signs of frayed wiring or other electrical problems.
  • Test the heating elements to see if they’re functioning correctly.

Drain And Flush The Water Heater Tank

If the issue still exists, try draining and flushing your water heater’s tank. This will remove any debris or sediment inside the tank that might be interfering with the heating elements. Here’s how to do it:

  • Turn off the power supply of the water heater.
  • Turn off the valve that supplies cold water to the tank.
  • Connect a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater tank.
  • Allow the tank to drain and flush out for a few moments.

Replace The Broken Heating Elements

If the above steps don’t solve your problem, it’s likely that one or both of the heating elements in your water heater are broken. Here’s how to replace them:

  • Turn off the power supply to the water heater.
  • Remove the access panels and detach the electrical leads from the heating elements.
  • Unscrew the heating elements from the water heater, carefully remove them and replace with new ones.
  • Reconnect the electrical leads and replace access panels.

Adjust The Thermostat

If your water heater is still not heating, check the thermostat. Sometimes, the issue may be due to an incorrect thermostat setting. Here’s how to adjust the thermostat:

  • Locate the thermostat, generally situated on the side of the water heater.
  • Turn off the power supply to the water heater.
  • Remove the access panel and adjust the thermostat to your desired temperature.
  • Turn the power supply back on, and test if the heating issue is resolved.

Replace The Water Heater

If none of the above steps work and your water heater is still not working, it’s time to replace it. Before you purchase a new one, verify the size of your current heater and its energy effectiveness rating. Also, don’t forget to contact a professional if you’re not comfortable with replacing the water heater yourself!

By following these troubleshooting tips, you can avoid spending money on a professional callout and get your hot water flowing again quickly.

Diy Vs. Professional Repair

If you’ve noticed that your water heater isn’t heating as it ought to, it’s likely that you need to have it checked to resolve the issue. Thankfully, there are two possible solutions for this problem: diy repairs and professional repair services.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Diy Repairs

Before deciding whether you want to handle the water heater repair yourself, you must first consider its advantages and disadvantages. Here are some points to guide you:


  • You can save money by not hiring a professional repair service.
  • You can have a sense of achievement by handling the repair on your own.
  • It can be a quick solution if the problems are small and minor.


  • If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could cause further damage to the appliance.
  • You may not have the right tools to perform the repair correctly.
  • If you cause further damage to the appliance, you’ll end up paying more in the long run.

When To Hire A Professional

If you have decided that the best solution is to hire a professional repair service, it’s important to understand when it’s necessary to enlist their help. Here are some scenarios when you should hire a professional:

  • If you have tried to perform diy repairs but have been unsuccessful.
  • If the problem seems major and complicated to fix.
  • If you don’t know how to use the tools and equipment for the repair.

Safety Precautions And Tips

Whether you’re performing diy repairs or hiring a professional, safety should always be your top priority. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Make sure to turn off the power supply to the water heater before performing repairs.
  • Use protective gloves and clothing to prevent any injuries.
  • Only use tools that are in good condition and made for the specific purpose of repairing water heaters.
  • If you’re unsure about anything, don’t hesitate to contact a professional repair service to avoid accidents and injuries.

Repairing a water heater that isn’t heating requires careful consideration of the advantages and disadvantages of diy repairs versus professional repair services. Regardless of which option you choose, safety should always be a top priority to avoid any further damage or injuries.

Maintenance Tips To Prevent Future Issues

If your water heater isn’t heating up properly, it can be frustrating and inconvenient. However, there are steps you can take to not only solve the issue at hand but also prevent it from happening again in the future. In this section, we’ll look at some essential maintenance tips you can follow to ensure your water heater stays in good condition for an extended period.

Regular Flushing Of The Water Heater

One of the most effective ways to prevent your water heater from malfunctioning is by regularly flushing it. Here are some crucial points to keep in mind:

  • Flushing your water heater every year can help remove any sediment buildup that may cause heating issues.
  • If you have hard water, it’s wise to flush your tank at least twice a year as hard water can result in mineral buildup, risking damage and reduced efficiency.
  • To flush your water heater, turn off the power supply and water supply valve, then open a hot water faucet. Drain the tank entirely before refilling it.

Insulation Of The Water Heater Tank

Insulating your water heater tank is another excellent way to prevent future heating issues. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Insulating your water heater tank will help maintain the temperature of the water, reduce standby heat loss and save energy.
  • You can install either a fiberglass or foam insulating jacket to the water heater tank.
  • Before installing the insulation material, turn off the power and allow the tank to cool down to avoid burns.

Inspection And Cleaning Of The Anode Rod

Anode rods are responsible for preventing corrosion in the water heater tank. By inspecting and cleaning the anode rod, you can ensure that it functions efficiently, increasing the heater’s lifespan. Here are some important details to consider:

  • Over time, the anode rod may corrode entirely, rendering it useless.
  • Inspect the rod regularly, and if it’s over 50% corroded, you may want to replace it.
  • To clean the rod, turn off the power and water supply, then remove the anode rod by unscrewing it from the top of the tank. Use a wire brush or vinegar to clean the rod before reinstalling it.

Annual Professional Inspection

Regular maintenance is essential, but an annual professional inspection can identify potential issues before they become significant problems. Here’s what this means:

  • Hire a professional hvac technician to inspect your water heater every year.
  • They will check for leaks, inspect the thermostat, and clean up any sediment buildup.
  • Annual inspections improve efficiency, extend the life of your water heater, and save you money on your energy bills.

By following these maintenance tips, you can not only fix your water heater issues but prevent them from reoccurring. Keep this section as a handy reference to ensure your water heater stays in good working condition for many years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions Of What To Do If Water Heater Is Not Heating

How Do I Troubleshoot If My Water Heater Is Not Heating?

Check that the circuit breaker is switched on, reset any tripped breaker box switches, inspect the pilot light, adjust thermostat, if these don’t work call customer support.

What Is The Significance Of Resetting The Circuit Breaker?

Resetting tripped circuit breakers helps you solve this problem. If the switches trip again that is a clear indication of an electricity fault.

What Can I Do If The Pilot Light Is Out?

Before relighting, confirm that the gas supply is open and the control knob is in the pilot position. Keep the knob down after igniting for a minute.

Should I Clean The Heating Elements?

Yes. Mineral build-up on tankless water heater heating elements decreases their output resulting in poor performance.

Can A Thermostat Cause The Water Heater Not To Heat?

Yes. If the thermostat isn’t working correctly, the heating elements can stay on for too long causing the water to boil. This can lead to high energy costs and leaks.


As a homeowner, it’s important to know what to do if your water heater isn’t heating up. Remember to check all the basics first, like the power supply and thermostat settings. If those don’t seem to be the issue, it could be time to call a professional plumber.

While some minor repairs can be done on your own, tackling a broken water heater should be left to the experts. Keep in mind that regular maintenance can help prevent issues from occurring in the first place. By flushing your water heater once a year and having it inspected by a professional annually, you can avoid future breakdowns and ensure it’s running efficiently.

Don’t let a lack of hot water put a damper on your daily routine – take action and get your water heater functioning properly again.