No Hot Water in Apartment [Causes and How to Fix]

Not having hot water in your apartment is a problem that needs to be fixed as soon as possible, especially if it is winter.

If there is no hot water in your apartment, there are two common reasons for this: your water heater failed due to wear and tear, or the thermostat is malfunctioning. To fix this issue, you can call your landlord if you rent or call a repair person if you own.

Read on to learn more about how to fix not having any hot water in your apartment.

No Hot Water in Apartment 

no hot water in my apartment

There are two major reasons why the water heater in your apartment does not work. First, your water heater may have been damaged due to wear and tear. Second, the water heater thermostat may be malfunctioning. 

If you are renting, contact your landlord. As required by law, landlords are responsible for the major maintenance of your apartment. This regular maintenance includes heating, plumbing, air conditioning, and electrical systems. So, you should contact your landlord immediately when your water heater becomes damaged. 

Your landlord must respond to the problem within a reasonable period. If you have called twice or thrice within one week and he/she still does not respond or remedy the problem, then you can take legal action.

You should keep a tab of your communications with your landlord so that you have proof that you have exhausted all means to report the hot water problem. You could let the landlord sign an acknowledgment receipt every time you report the problem.

Note that there are exceptions to the rule, though. If you have willfully damaged the water heater or any parts of it, the landlord is not responsible for fixing the damage. You will have to shoulder the expenses. 

Examples of willful damages are physically tearing down the water heater or other parts thereof and causing mishaps to damage the water heater or its parts purposefully.

You cannot force your landlord to do the repairs when there is a specific clause in your contract stating that the landlord would not be responsible for water heater problems.

However, this scenario is far-fetched due to housing unit rules. Before landlords could rent out their units, they have to agree that they are responsible for keeping them livable, safe, and healthy.

No Hot Water in Your Apartment – What to Do?

1. Check Your Water Heater

The first thing that you should do is to check your water heater. You may not have turned it on, or there may not be water in the system.

You may have unplugged the heater, or someone may have unplugged it. Double-check that the heater is plugged and turned on. Ensure that sufficient water flows into the heater. 

Remember to unplug the equipment before touching the switches or wires. 

2. Allow the Water Heater to Function for at Least 5 Minutes

After you have plugged and turned on the heater, wait for 5 minutes and then check the water temperature. Take note to regulate the temperature before turning on the tap. You may get scalded with sweltering temperatures. 

You would know easily if your heater is still functional by its regular sound and ability to produce hot water.

3. Call Your Landlord If the Hot Water Heater Is Still Not Working

You should call your landlord and report the problem. You may want to note the time, day, and date you made the call. You could ask permission to record the call for future reference.

Some apartment complexes have a management office within the building to get in touch with them immediately. The staff could get in contact with the landlord. They have to respond immediately to your problem as well.

If you don’t have a management office in your apartment area, you could directly contact your landlord.

4. Wait for the Landlord to Remedy the Problem

Your landlord must act within 24 hours upon receipt of your report by contacting an expert or replacing your water heater. If he/she still does not respond within 24 hours, you can write a formal request with the landlord’s signature acknowledging your request.

Whether the landlord hires an expert or does the job, you should know that it is the landlord’s responsibility to fix the problem.

5. The Landlord Should Act within One Week

If you are patient enough, you can give your landlord up to one week to resolve the problem. In cases when the landlord refuses to do anything, you can take legal action. 

That is why you have to keep all your communications to prove legally that you have exhausted all means to inform the landlord about the problem.

6. Know Your Rights as a Tenant

Know your rights as a tenant. The landlord is legally obligated to ensure that tenants live in safe, secure, healthy, and comfortable apartments. [1]

Hence, do not be afraid to take legal action when your comfort is at stake. An example is not having hot water in your apartment or similar issues.

Nonetheless, it is your responsibility to use the water heater properly and not damage it in any way. Take note that willfully damaging the heater will not hold your landlord accountable. 

no hot water

What Will You Do If the Landlord Does Not Take Action?

In instances when communication with your landlord is difficult, you can choose any of these options.

1. Repair the Water Heater and Let Your Landlord Reimburse Your Expenses

You can replace or repair the water heater yourself and then let your landlord reimburse your expenses later on.

Landlords have to pay because your local government will help tenants get their money back through legal means. In this case, the law has your back.

2. Deduct the Repair Expenses from the Monthly Rent

You could also deduct the water heater repair cost from your monthly rent. This method is most useful when the landlord refuses to reimburse your expenses.

The law dictates that landlords must ensure that their tenants live in apartments with hot water and other basic amenities.

3. Break Your Lease Agreement

This is the last recourse you can do if your landlord still refuses to do anything about your complaint. Hot water is a basic necessity in an apartment, and living without hot water is unhealthy and unsafe. 

The unsafe and unhealthy living space is sufficient for you to break your lease agreement. Since the landlord cannot abide by the legal rules about renting out apartments, you also have the right to stop honoring the contract.

You could report your landlord to your local housing department or similar government entities in your area. Do not be afraid to take legal action when this incident happens. You have every right to do so.

If there is no hot water in your apartment, there are two common reasons for this: your water heater failed due to wear and tear, or the thermostat is malfunctioning. See below for more detailed causes of not having hot water.

Causes of No Hot Water in Apartment

1. Sediment Buildup

Sediments usually build up in the water heater tanks due to prolonged use. Thus, you should clean your water heater regularly. 

If you are living in quadplexes, you can request the other tenants to contribute to reducing the repair cost. Apartment complexes may have single-unit water heaters or share a common water heater. Therefore, you will have to consider the other tenants when deciding what to do. 

2. Old and Worn Out Heater

Water heaters undergo wear and tear. You have to replace your water heater if they are old and worn out.

Most gas water heaters last from eight to ten years, while electric water heaters could last from 12 to 15 years. 

However, if they are damaged beyond repair even before 8 years, you will have to replace them immediately. Dysfunctional electrical pieces of equipment could cause fatal accidents. 

3. Malfunctioning Thermostat

You could replace the malfunctioning thermostat and have hot water within minutes. It would be best to let a qualified technician or expert do the replacement. Your landlord should provide an in-house electrician or hire one to do this risky task.

4. Gas Line Leak

The gas lines may have leaks that prevent the water from heating up. A professional water heater electrician would know all the causes. Nonetheless, you could make suggestions whenever necessary.

Having no hot water in your apartment is an emergency that you should get fixed ASAP. Two common reasons could cause your water heater to fail. The first reason could be due to wear and tear. The heater could be old and worn. Another common reason is a malfunctioning thermostat.

This incident calls for an immediate response as most people could not live without hot water. You need hot water to shower, wash dishes, and do laundry. Hence, you have to report to your landlord immediately so that an emergency response is initiated. 

How to Maintain Your Water Heater

1. Landlords Should Properly Maintain the Water Heater 

no hot water in apartment

If you live in an apartment complex, you should ascertain that your landlord maintains your water heater periodically. Your landlord must check the water heater at least three or four times a year. 

The maintenance crew should properly drain and then flush your water heater to remove sediment build-up over time. When the water heater tank is full of sediments, these can clog your equipment and cause damage or explosions.

When you share the heater with another apartment, you have to remind the apartments’ management office to check the equipment regularly. 

2. Maintain 2-Feet Clearance from Other Appliances

Make sure that the water heater is at least two feet away from other appliances. You could also refer to the user’s manual to check safety instructions.

However, remember that your landlord is the person in charge of installing your water heater. Thus, you only have to double-check. 

3. Adjust the Thermostat to 120°C

Lower the temperature of your heater to 120°C. You would be saving energy and will also avoid accidental scalding due to scorching water temperatures.

You could go even lower as water’s boiling point is 100 °C.

4. Switch the Water Heater to ‘Vacation’ When Going on Long Vacations

When going on long vacations, you could turn off your heater or switch it to ‘vacation mode’ – if you have the pre-set button. Unmanned water heaters for a month could cause untoward accidents that could burn down your house.

5. Check for Any Leaks Before Operating the Equipment

Before each use, check for any leaks. Leaks could waste energy and prolong the heating. You could save hundreds of dollars by sealing those leaks effectively. 

If the leaks are irreparable, then you have to request your landlord to replace your heater with a new one.

6. Check the Release Valve Every Year

The in-house maintenance crew should check the release valve every year or whenever necessary. A malfunctioning valve can cause explosions or damages to your heater.

Conclusion – No Hot Water in My Apartment 

If there is no hot water in your apartment, the first thing that you should do is to find out if the heater is turned on or not. If the heater is damaged, you have to call your landlord or the maintenance staff immediately so that they can fix it. Your heater may be too old to function efficiently, or your thermostat could have damages. 

However, fixing the heater yourself and invoicing the landlord for the cost later on could also be an option. 

Having no hot water in your apartment is an emergency that you would surely want to resolve quickly. You should know that your landlord has the responsibility to guarantee that your apartment is a safe, healthy, livable, and secure living space.