What Causes Hot Water to Stop Working?

12 / 08 / 2019

It could be because of power or fuel issues (either the energy source or the connections), defective heating elements or heat exchangers, a failing thermostat or a huge leak in the piping or tank. In most cases the hot water issue can still be repaired but in some a full replacement might be necessary.

For instance, a huge rust build-up in the tank is difficult or impossible to fix and may often require replacement of the tank or the entire unit. Aside from whether the unit can still be fixed or not, we should also consider the repair costs especially if the repairs are getting too frequent recently. It might be more cost-effective to buy and install a new hot water system instead of spending repeatedly on an old unit that might fail at the moment you least expect.

What causes hot water to stop working

Both storage-type and continuous flow (instantaneous and on-demand) water heaters are bound to fail at some point due to natural wear and tear and degradation (plus corrosion and the unit’s lifetime is already exhausted). It’s inevitable and what we can do is prolong the unit’s lifetime and maintain the system’s efficiency in heating and delivering hot water.

To maximise the unit’s lifetime and maintain its efficiency, an annual inspection and maintenance is important. Time flies fast and often the problems don’t show up for several consecutive years (i.e. your hot water may still work fine even after 5 or more years of usage without any kind of maintenance). However, efficiency might suffer because of corrosion, rust build-up and systems overwork. This means you’ll pay more for fuel or electricity or the water doesn’t get hot enough for your daily use and comfort.

As a result, it’s important to get the hot water inspected and maintained. This maintenance may include draining the sediments from the tank and a straightforward visual (leaks and rust build-up) and audio inspection (e.g. are there gurgling noises). Then, the hot water specialists would perform further diagnostics to get to the root of the problem. They would then do the necessary repairs or advice you of the unit’s replacement if this option is more cost-effective.

That few minutes of inspection and maintenance could extend your hot water’s lifespan for a few more years thereby delaying a new purchase as much as possible. This results in cost savings both in the upfront purchase and the installation. You also get the most out of your water heater and perhaps prevent an ill-timed hot water breakdown.