No Hot Water in House but Have Cold Water – Causes and How to Fix Them

It can be quite a shocking experience when you turn on the shower and are bombarded with ice-cold water. How come there is no hot water in the house, but there’s cold water?

There are many reasons why your house does not have hot water, and they all stem from the water heater. Some of the most common causes include:

  1. Leaking Hot Water Tank
  2. Gas Leak
  3. Malfunctioning Electric Heater
  4. Faulty Gas Valve
  5. Broken or Malfunctioning Thermostat
  6. Insufficient Tank Size
  7. Inclement Weather

You can solve most problems stated above by checking the water heater and fixing the issues. However, if the problem seems too big for you, do not hesitate to call a professional technician. They will take care of it for you.

Read on to learn more about why there is no hot water in the house, but there is cold water.

No Hot Water in House but Have Cold Water – The Causes

no hot water in house but have cold water

If the cold water’s running just fine, but there is no hot water, the problem is with your water heater. This means you do not need to waste your time and energy tracing the plumbing lines to look for leaks. Instead, go directly to your water heater and start looking for the issues.

If you are a new homeowner who encountered it for the first time, you might not know where to start. Here are some of the most common reasons why there is no hot water in your home:

1. Hot Water Tank Is Leaking

Your water heater needs sufficient water to do its job properly in its holding tank. If the tank’s almost empty and you are sure the water line is open, it probably means it leaks. It is also most likely a substantial leak.

A leaking tank is not energy-efficient, but it can also cause serious damage to your home. The leak is not necessarily on the body of the tank itself. That said, start checking the connections. Check the valves and the pipes attached to the water heater and the tank.

If you find that those are secure, check the tank compartment. If there is water inside the compartment, you may need to replace the entire thing.

2. Gas Leak

If you’re using a natural gas water heater that leaks, it can cause inconvenience and danger. There is a natural gas leak in the water heater if you can smell the gas as it leaks out. In that case, call your gas company.

The technician from the gas company will pinpoint the source of the leak. If the source comes from the line going into the heater, they will be able to fix it.

However, if the leak comes from the water heater, they would turn off the gas to the unit. Find a water heater technician to fix the unit. After that, call the gas company to turn the gas on again.

3. Malfunctioning Electric Heater

If you are using an electric heater, you can try resetting it and hoping it fixes. First, turn off the heater. Reset the circuit breaker afterward.

If the heater tripped the breaker, it would turn off the fuse. Wait a couple of minutes and turn the heater back on again. Hopefully, this will cause the water heater to run correctly again.

Contact a qualified electrician if the water heater trips the circuit breaker again. This can give you a hundred percent assurance that the problem will be fixed correctly.

4. Faulty Gas Valve

If your gas heater is not leaking, not in the supply lines and tank, it could be the gas valve. Give it a good tug. It should be secure and in the right place. If this is the case, make sure to turn on the gas. If the gas valve is working fine, check the pilot light next.

Light the pilot light again in case it is out. Be patient as this may require a couple of tries. If the pilot light cannot seem to stay lit, the problem is with the gas line. There might be something that obstructs the flow of gas to the heater. In that case, get the help of a technician.

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5. Malfunctioning Thermostat

no hot water in house but have cold water electric

For your water heater to work efficiently, set the thermostat between 122°F and 140°F. However, if the thermostat malfunctions, it could result in the water always coming out too hot. It could also result in no hot water at all.

The thermostat might have malfunctioned because of excessive sediment buildup in the tank. To fix this, flush the water tank and reset the thermostat. However, a replacement may also be necessary. This happens if the water is still cold, even if you ensured the right positioning of the thermostat.

6. Insufficient Tank Size

How many people are in your family? If there are many people in your household, the tank may be insufficient to provide everyone with hot water. Did you move into your home with the water heater already installed? It might not have been appropriately sized for your family’s needs.

In that case, upgrade the water heater to a bigger tank. Go for a tank that can hold enough hot water for your family. Either that or install an electric water heater in the bathrooms. However, remember that electric water heaters take a minute or two to warm up the water considerably.

7. Inclement Weather

The weather outside can also affect how quickly the water can get hot. Even in areas down south, water heaters need to work harder during the winter. It might get so cold that your water heater cannot keep up if you live in such areas.

You can try to ride out the worst of the winter. You may also want to help your water heater by wrapping it with a thick insulating blanket. The insulation will help keep the heat trapped inside the tank longer, thus making it more efficient.

Even if you do not live in a cold area, insulating your water heater is a good practice. The reason is that it can improve the way the heater functions.

Again, what causes no hot water in the house but have cold water? The water heater heats a certain amount of water, then puts it in the tank. You’ll get cold water if you use too much hot water before the heating elements can replace said supply.

No Hot Water After Turning Water Back On – Causes and How to Fix

When Do You Need to Replace Your Water Heater?

no hot water in house but have cold water gas

Yes, water heaters are pretty expensive, and you would instead get yours repaired if possible. However, there are times when you have to cut your losses and replace your old unit with a brand-new water heater.

Here are some signs that you are due for a new water heater:

1. Aging Heater

It could be that your heater is already too old. Like any other household appliance, your water heater can only last for many years.

Average water heaters have an estimated lifespan of around 8-12 years. However, some brands can last for around 30 years with proper care and maintenance.

Note that there are also instances when you are unaware of how old the water heater in your house is. It could be because it was already there when you moved in. If such is the case, you can check the serial number.

The numbers after the first letter are the year when the heater was made. For instance, G061193740 means the water heater was made in 2006. So, this water heater is already way beyond the recommended lifespan.

2. Noisier Than Usual

Your water heater may already be starting to produce too much noise. Listen for any weird noises coming from it.

A brand-new water heater tank is completely quiet. However, it will start to develop a rumbling noise as it ages. One reason why your water heater starts getting noisy is excessive sediment buildup.

Over time, sediment from the water that passes through the water heater will build up inside the tank. If it accumulates enough deposit, it will cause the tank to become inefficient and get damaged easily. Flush your hot water tank at least once a year to prevent this from happening.

3. Leaking Water Heater

If the leak is only on the fittings, a plumber can fix the problem for you. You can even do it yourself if you are handy. However, if the leak is directly on the tank, it is safer to replace the entire thing.

4. Not Big Enough Water

If your water heater tank is not big enough for your family’s needs, it will often be empty. If you are the last to hit the showers every morning, the odds are that you have always gotten cold water. If you cannot afford to replace the water heater, opt for electric heaters in every bathroom.

Electric water heaters are a fraction of the cost of a tank water heater. The good news is they can produce hot water when you need it. However, unlike traditional water heaters that supply hot water immediately, they require a minute or two to warm up.

5. Discolored Water

If the hot water coming out of your tap has a slightly reddish discoloration, the tank inside could be rusty. The problem with this is that there is nothing much that you can do about it.

You can’t clean the inside of the tank thoroughly. If you do, it is possible that some parts have already rusted through and will start leaking.

If you experience the mentioned signs, you should consider shopping for your old water heater replacement.

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Conclusion – No Hot Water in the House but Have Cold Water

There are many reasons you are not getting enough or any hot water inside your home. Some of the most common causes include:

  1. Hot Water Tank is Leaking
  2. There is a Gas Leak
  3. Malfunctioning Electric Heater
  4. Faulty Gas Valve
  5. Broken/Malfunctioning Thermostat
  6. Insufficient Tank Size
  7. Inclement Weather

You can trace most of the issues mentioned above by simply examining the water heater. If you consider yourself a handy person, you might be able to fix the problems yourself. However, there are times when even a professional technician can’t repair your water heater.

If your water heater is already irreparable, consider replacing it. A replacement may also be necessary if you notice that you are getting it repaired too often.

The repair costs add up, and the increasing inefficiency of the heater will lead to higher utility bills. It will be more cost-effective to get a brand-new water heater.

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