Quick Checks To See Why A Gas Water Heater Isn't Producing Hot Water

Posted on: 15 May 2015

Has your gas water heater suddenly stopped providing you with hot water? Unless you have plumbing experience, you will likely want to call in a professional. But you can first perform a few quick checks to see if you can determine and fix a minor problem. Always start the process by finding your owner's manual and ensuring that electricity is turned off to your unit.

Check the Shut-Off Valves

A gas water heater has a couple of different shut-off valves that can be turned to stop a crucial part of the heating system. Valves that were accidentally turned off can make it seem like your entire system suddenly stopped working. And accidentally shut-off valves are a prime example why not every homeowner is a match for plumbing tasks.

Use your owner's manual to locate the shut-off valves on your system. There should be one on or near the cold water inlet pipe. This shut-off exists so that you can turn off water moving through your heater without having to turn off your home's entire cold water supply.

There should be another shut-off valve near the top of the gas supply line. This allows you to turn off the gas when working on the water heater so that there's not a gas buildup. Without the gas coming through, the system lacks the fuel it needs to heat the water.

If any of these valves are turned off, turn them back on. Test your hot water again to see if it's coming out of any of your faucets. If not, continue your checks.

Temperature and Pressure Valve

There's one more valve to check, but it's a bit more specialized than the ones for the supply lines. The temperature and pressure valve is triggered when the water trying to leave the heater into the pipes is either too hot or too high pressured to be safe. When the valve is triggered, this unsafe water is instead forced down a pipe and into a bucket or storage container. Check the bucket or storage container to see if there's standing water. This could indicate that you failed to get hot water because the valve rerouted it to protect you from burns.

If so, call a plumber to have your system examined. Some other problem is causing the valve to continually reroute water and it needs to be fixed before you can safely use your water heater.

Pilot Light

A gas water heater operates thanks to a gas burner assembly in the bottom of the unit. The burner includes the burner itself and an important pilot light. Consult your manufacturer's guide to find out how to locate and relight the pilot light. Find the light and see if it is already lit. If it is, you likely have a problem with the thermocouple – which tells the gas when the light is on so the gas comes through – and that's best left to a professional.

If the light is off, follow the directions in your guide to light it. Test your hot water and see if it is working now. If not, or if any of these steps seem too difficult for you to handle, contact a plumber at Hammond Plumbing.