No Hot Water in the House but have Cold Water

No Hot Water In House But Have Cold Water? Here’s What To Do

No hot water in your house? It can be frustrating when you need to shower, wash dishes, or do the laundry. There are many different reasons why this might happen. Maybe your hot water heater broke down, or someone turned off the water supply in the street. Regardless of the issue, it can be difficult to know what to do when you’re in this situation. Here are some ways you can deal with having no hot water in the house but have cold water available.

If you have no hot water the following aspects will need to be examined:

  • Check thermostate is at correct temperature
  • Confirm Gas Supply is operational (gas water heater)
  • Confirm Pilot light on (gas water heater)
  • Check for Defective thermocouple (gas water heater)
  • Exclude a tripped circuit breaker (electric)
  • Exclude high temoerature cutoff switch (electric)
  • Exclude defective heating element (electric)
  • Exclude defective thermostat
  • Look for water leaks

What to Check When There’s No Hot Water?

If you have no hot water in house but have cold water still flowing, it is important to problem solve the following:

Check Thermostat is at the Correct Temperature

The thermostat should be set between 122 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit so the water heater can be energy efficient and produce hot water. If the hot water is too hot or the supply is not enough, or there’s no hot water, you must check the thermostat.

If you find that the thermostat is busted, you should replace it. Not having regular maintenance can cause thermostat issues because of sediment buildup – and to fix this, simply flush your water heater.

Confirm Gas Supply is Operational (Gas Water Heater)

If you don’t have hot water at all, verify if your water heater is actually getting gas. In some unintended instances, the gas supply can be interrupted or turned off. Follow these steps on how to check your gas supply:

  • Turn your gas control knob to pilot.
  • Take off the cover where the pilot light and burner are located. You can find it at the bottom of the water heater.
  • Verify if there is a flame inside. If there’s no flame, it means your pilot light has gone out.

Confirm Pilot Light On (Gas Water Heater)

If you did not see any flame upon inspecting your pilot. It is most likely that your pilot light has simply died out, and you have to relight it.

But take note that not all pilot lights are the same nowadays. The latest water heater models normally use glow plugs or spark igniters. Even though it’s not that common, some of the cheaper or older water heater units still use the old-style pilot lights.

Now what you want to do is check your owner’s manual for directions on how to light a pilot light for your water heater model. Most manufacturers have the directions printed on the tank for easier inspection. Here’s how to light a pilot light:

Tip: If your water heater uses a pilot light, verify if the directions are printed on the tank. 

  • Turn off the regulator and give it at least five minutes for the gas to dissipate.
  • Now, turn on the regulator to pilot mode.
  • If your water heater features a self-ignite function, just hold down the ignition button for at least one minute, and then turn on the regulator.
  • If it’s needed to light the pilot, get a long lighter and direct the flame near the pilot burner where the gas supply tube is located.
  • Your pilot light should ignite.

If the steps above didn’t work, follow these next steps:

  • If your pilot light won’t stay light or doesn’t ignite at all, there’s a chance that the gas inlet valve is closed.
  • Simply follow your gas line until you spot a small lever-type handle.
  • Turn the lever parallel to the gas line and try to ignite your pilot again.
  • If it still doesn’t work, most likely, you have a defective thermocouple.
  • If you really have a defective thermocouple, you must call the gas utility company since they don’t often charge for fixing your thermocouple.

Check for Defective Thermocouple (Gas Water Heater)

If you have a defective thermocouple, you’ll see that you don’t have hot water. Because a faulty thermocouple will shut off the gas valve, your water heater will not have the capability it needs to heat the water in the tank.

If your thermocouple is defective, the pilot light won’t light. If you try to ignite your pilot and it won’t stay light, it could be a sign of either malfunctioned thermocouple or thermos cutoff switch. Check for possible blockage and replace them if necessary.

no hot water in the house

Exclude a Tripped Circuit Breaker (Electric)

See if your circuit breaker box for the water heater has been tripped. Just like any other major appliance, a water heater needs its own dedicated electrical circuit. The circuit breaker of your water heater should be easy to know if it tripped as it will not be in line with the other breakers in the box.

To reset your circuit breaker, just flip it to the off position and then simply turn it back on. If the breaker trips, I suggest you call a certified electrician to fix the problem.

Exclude High-Temperature Cutoff Switch (Electric)

A tripped high-temperature cutoff switch is most likely another possible reason you don’t have hot water.

The high-temperature cutoff switch is also known as a reset switch or high limit switch. It is a safety switch that is engineered to shut down the power to your water heater if the water temperature reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit. 

There are four common reasons why you have a tripped high-temperature cutoff switch:

  • The high-temp cutoff switch is faulty
  • The thermostat is not working
  • There are some loose electrical connections
  • And a faulty heating element

Follow these steps on how to reset the high-temperature cutoff switch:

  • First, turn off your water heater circuit breaker at the electrical panel.
  • Take off the upper panel cover.
  • Carefully remove the insulation.
  • Press the red or black button, and you should hear a click sound.
  • Replace the insulation, then replace the upper panel cover.
  • And finally, turn on your water heater circuit breaker in the electrical panel.

Once the high-temperature cutoff switch is reset, it should start heating water again. It could take up to an hour or for your water heater to thoroughly reheat.

If you still do not have power to your water heater, there is a high chance that your high-temperature cutoff switch is defective and needs to be replaced.

Tip: It is also a good idea to monitor your water heater on the following day. 

Just because you successfully fixed your high-temperature cutoff switch does not imply that it will not trip again.

If constant tripping always occurs, you should find out the root of the problem why it keeps tripping.

Exclude Defective Heating Element (Electric)

Issues with heating elements are the most common reason you don’t have hot water with your electric water heater.

Electric water heaters utilize immersion heating elements in order to heat the water. 

Most electric water heaters have two heating elements, a bottom one and a top one.

Heating elements can have an electrical short or break. Regardless of the cause, if your heating elements are not properly operating, it will impact the temperature and amount of water your water heater can provide. Here’s how to test heating elements.

  • First of all, prepare a multimeter and a flat head screwdriver.
  • Turn off the water heater on the electrical panel.
  • Then set the multimeter to continuity.
  • Take off the panel cover.
  • Slowly remove the insulation.
  • Search for the head of the heating element and put a probe on each screw.
  • If your multimeter reads “1”, then you must replace the heating element.
no hot water but have cold water

You must also consider the condition and age of your water heater. Water heaters usually have a service life of no more than thirteen years.

It is wiser to just buy a new water heater depending on the age than to replace your heating elements.

If purchasing a new water heater is not an option, just replace one or both of your heating elements. It is a cheap and straightforward task that many house owners choose to do themselves.

Contacting a certified plumber to replace the heating elements is also a wise (but quite expensive) option. A professional plumber can inspect your water heater and help you decide if it is better to replace the heating elements or just buy a new one.

Exclude Defective Thermostat

On an electric water heater, the upper thermostat controls both the lower and upper heating elements. The lower thermostat only controls the lower heating element, so if it malfunctions (even if the upper thermostat is working), the water won’t get hot enough.

The easiest way to fix this is to replace your water heater thermostat. Replacing it is super easy, and you should be able to do it on your own without any issues.

  • Firstly, prepare the new thermostat, a multimeter, and a flatbed and Phillips.

Tip: Make sure you have bought the correct thermostat for your water heater. 

  • Now, before replacing your thermostat, shut off the power supply to your water heater first, then follow the steps below.
  • Disconnect the thermostat wires while taking note of how they are connected. Taking some pictures will be helpful later on.
  • Slowly lift the thermostat out of the retaining bracket.
  • Then get the new thermostat and replace the old one. 
  • Verify that the back of the thermostat is placed tightly against the tank.
  • Reconnect the wires to the thermostat.
  • Then replace the protective cover.
  • Then, inspect and adjust the temperature setting to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Now, replace the access cover as well as the insulation.
  • Finally, turn on the water heater power. 

Look for Water Leaks

Water leaks are another typical reason why you see an insufficient hot water supply at your home. If you have a conventional standby tank, water leaks will be easily visible because you’ll see water marks at the base of the water heater. Small water leaks will affect water temperature and your heating and water costs every month.

If you find water leaks, the best way to solve this problem is to contact a professional plumber to fix the leak.


First Line Troubleshooting When Hot Water Is Not Working, But Cold Is

Here are some immediate steps you should consider if you have no hot water in house but have cold water working:

Confirm the Thermostat Is Set at the Right Temperature

A faulty thermostat may force the water temperature down below the level you consider comfortable.

To see if that’s the reason that you don’t have hot water, you must inspect your water heater’s thermostat setting.

With an electric heater, you will need to take off the inspection panel to find the thermostat. 

Water heater units come with a preset temperature, but you can adjust it.

You can set the temperature as high as 140 degrees Fahrenheit or as low as 110 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on your needs. Reducing water temperature will also lower your energy bill.

Eliminate that Sudden Changes in Weather Have Not Occurred

There are instances where the problem is just out of your control. If the outside temperature drastically changes, an unused water heater that has been sitting throughout the night could stop functioning.

If the weather in your place has been freezing and your water heater is still operating, then try turning it on to the maximum temperatures until it normally works again.

After allowing your heater to warm up for around thirty minutes, run a bathroom or kitchen faucet to see if the water is heating up.

If everything heats up just fine, then you should keep your water heater set higher until the outside temperature rises.

How Long Does a Hot Water Heater Last for?

It would be cool to know when the time is appropriate to replace your water heater before it shows leaks and cause inconvenience, or worse, damage to your house.

Normally, a residential hot water heater can last between six and thirteen years.

The lifespan of your water tank is affected by factors like whether you have maintained a schedule of flushing and draining the tank every year as suggested by the tank manufacturers, as well as the type of water running through it.

What to Do If There Is No Hot Water In House – Gas Water Heater

If you have a gas water heater and there’s no hot water in your house, here are the most common reasons you should keep in mind.

Water Heater Has No Gas Supply

Something is obstructing gas from reaching the pilot light and burner.

Your gas supply may have been shut off unintentionally. If this is the case, just be sure that the gas is on and the gas valve is not in the closed position.

Then open the valve and follow the steps below:

  • Turn the temperature control to its lowest setting. Make sure not to turn off the unit completely, just to the lowest setting. Then, turn the On/Off knob to pilot.
  • Then near the bottom of the water heater, take off the outer access panel. Some units come with a secondary access panel under the outer panel – it’s a safety panel to safeguard the pilot light. If your unit has this, remove it as well.
  • If your water heater features a pilot button, push and hold the button. If there’s not a button, just press the whole pilot control knob down. You should press down this button until the pilot has been lit.
  • If your water heater is an older unit, there’s a small tube extending from the base of the gas valve, which leads to the pilot. Find this line and follow it to get familiarized with the location that requires to be ignited. With a fireplace match or a grill igniter, lit the pilot light.
  • If you have a latest model of water heater, search for the pilot igniter button around the on/off knob. While pressing down the pilot button, push the pilot igniter button. If you check through the glass window while doing so, you’ll see a spark produced as the igniter is pushed.
  • Now to finish the steps, if the pilot lights, press the button for twenty seconds and release it. If it doesn’t stay lit, just repeat the process.

If you can’t get hot water all, verify if your water heater is actually receiving gas. There are instances where the gas supply can be accidentally interrupted or turned off. Here’s how to check the gas supply.

If you have no hot water at all, check to see if your water heater is actually getting gas. 

No Pilot Light

The pilot light on your water heater is the first thing you should check when you have no water. The latest water heater units don’t always come with a pilot light. But if yours have one, verify if the flame is out.

If it is, then you must check your manufacturer’s directions on how to relight it. Usually, this information is found on the side of the unit.

Now, if your water heater features a pilot light, follow the steps below to reignite it.

  • Turn off the regulator and wait for at least 5 minutes for the gas to disappear.
  • Then turn off the regulator to pilot.
  • If your unit features a self-ignite function, just press down the ignition button for at least a minute, then turn on the regulator.
  • If you want to use flame to ignite your pilot light, then use a long lighter and direct the flame near the pilot burner.

When There Is a Gas Leak

In its natural state, gas doesn’t have a smell, and it is colorless. A gas-related product called mercaptan, also known as methanethiol, is added to gas to aid you to smell gas leaks. When mercaptan is added, gas usually smells like sulfur or rotten eggs when there’s a leak.

If you smell gas around your water heater, immediately lock or switch off the gas valve. You can turn shut off the gas valve by pushing it downward. 

Now, if the gas valve is broken, you must replace it.

Is Your Pilot Light Burning Yellow?

If your pilot light is burning yellow, it means no air is going to flame, and this must have an immediate inspection.

Here’s how to solve yellow flames.

  • Remove the scale from the top of your gas burner.
  • The root of the problem is usually because of ventilation. Just give your water heater enough air and proper ventilation.
  • If the vent system or flue is obstructed, be sure to find the cause, clean the pipes, and get rid of the blockage.
  • Right supply of combustion air is needed, particularly if the water heater is installed in a confined or close space.
  • If the main burner is blocked, be sure to unclog it or replace if needed.

The extra heat will build up inside the chamber, which will most likely trip the thermal switch – which will ultimately shut down your water heater. 

Yellow pilot light is the most common reason for the extra smoking and soot accumulation in the gas burner, flue tubes, and the combustion chamber.

Preventing Yellow Flames

Most of the newer water heater models are incorporated with Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant technology or simply FVIR and a unique flame arrestor. These features prevent the flame and burning vapors to escape from the combustion chamber. 

Meanwhile, some gas water heaters are incorporated with air shutter, which enables you to adjust the air-gas mixture for correct burning. Too much air will make the burner flame lift off the burner ports and burn.

On the flip side, little air will cause sooting. The manually adjustable air shutter is normally found on cast iron burners while the steel burners come with a self-adjusting air mixture.

Orange or yellow flames are clear signs that your water heater has a problem. If your flame is yellower than blue then you must call for help since this can be dangerous.


What to Do If There Is No Hot Water In House – Electric Water Heater

Now, if you have an electric water heater and there’s no hot water in your house, here are the most common reasons you should keep in mind.

Tripped Circuit Breaker

If you have an electric water heater and no hot water, then the first place you’ll want to inspect is your electric circuit breaker and see if it trips.

If a breaker is tripped, it will not necessarily be in the off position, but resetting it should fix the issue.

Faulty High-Temperature Cutoff Switch

If you reset the circuit breaker and it trips again, then you may have an even deeper electrical problem. Water heaters need plenty of energy, and keeping one on its own dedicated circuit breaker is the smart choice.

You can also contact a professional electrician to establish a dedicated water heater circuit and fix your breaker.

A Flooded Compartment

Water has most likely found its way into your water heater if the compartment is flooded. Water can cause malfunctions if it reaches the thermostat. Check if the compartment is flooded, and if it’s, make sure to dry it before using it to prevent short circuit.

Defective Heating Elements

Water heaters can usually only last between six to thirteen years, so if your water heater is old, components such as the heating elements may be at their limit. Even though replacing the heating elements is definitely much cheaper, if your water heater is old, you’ll save more in the long run if you replace the entire unit.

Look for Possible Water Leaks

If you find water inside your compartment, it is most likely an indication of a leak in your tank. The leak can cause serious damage to your thermostat, which can cause short circuit. If your tank has water leaks, you will want to replace the unit if you want to have hot water again.

Defective Thermostat

The upper thermostat regulates the upper and lower heating elements of an electric water heater. A faulty thermostat will cause hot water problems. Your water won’t get hot enough if the lower thermostat is malfunctioning. Fixing your thermostat will help solve your hot water issues.

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Your Hot Water Requirements Exceed Your Supply Needs

If your water heater doesn’t have a fault and still can’t meet your household hot water requirements, you must learn how to avoid such an issue.

Understanding and managing the situation is sometimes the wisest thing to do, even though you can purchase a larger water heater if needed. Here are some tips to aid you to keep your hot water running when your water heater cannot keep up.

Limit Your Usage

An average shower distributes 40 liters of water every one minute. If the capacity of the water heater tank is 50 gallons, you can run out of hot water easily.

A water heater tank that has a 70-gallon capacity will not be able to provide more than 43 gallons of hot water.

The reason is that the hot water will get diluted when the cold water gets into the water tank. Keeping this in mind, you can only utilize part of your hot water and not all of it.

An average shower dispenses 40 liters of water every 60 seconds. If the capacity of your water heater tank is 50 gallons, you can run out of hot water at any time.

Know the Recovery Time

When the water heater gets drained, it will require some recovery time to release hot water as it once did. It normally takes few minutes or sometimes hours to recover, depending on the size of your water tank.

For example, a 70-gallon tank will take around twenty-six minutes to refill and heat the water.

If you want to have hot water as fast as possible, avoid using hot water if the recovery process is still not done. Enabling the recovery time to complete will make the water heater heat the water fast.

Using water when the recovery process is still going on will just add cool water to the water tank. If this happens, the recovery time rises, and the water won’t be heated well.

Loose Connections

Your electric water heater will stop functioning correctly if its wiring becomes loose. So, you should turn off the unit and see if the entire wiring is still in place. This issue is not common to encounter, but you must also keep this in mind.

Broken Tank

A broken water tank can cause water not to reach the needed heater temperature. A broken tank can cause water damages, short circuits, or a fire outbreak. If it’s broken, the best thing to do is to replace your water heater.


We hope this article has solved why there is no hot water in house but have cold water still running.

Last update on 2021-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API