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What to Do When Cold Water Is Coming from Your Water Heater

A water heater that sends cold water out of your home’s hot taps creates a sense of panic when it happens inside your Bowie, Maryland, home. In our most recent blog, the plumbers at Grove Heating & Cooling explain the reasons why your water heater isn’t heating the water, how to fix these issues, and when professional service is necessary.

Have Cold Water Coming from Your Water Heater? Here’s Why…

Here are the most common reasons why cold water may be coming from your hot water heater and how to fix this issue.

No Power

A simple explanation is a lack of power. If the hot water heater doesn’t have access to its fuel source, it cannot heat the water. To correct this issue, do the following:

  • For electric water heaters, check the home’s electrical panel, and make sure the breaker has not tripped – reset the circuit breaker if necessary. 
  • For natural gas water heaters, make sure the gas valve is open to allow gas into the unit for water heating. Reset the system’s circuit breaker if necessary as well.

Pilot Light Problems

Some gas water heaters use a pilot light ignition system. If the pilot light is out, gas will not ignite and water will not heat.

  • Make sure the pilot light is lit. If it is out, follow the instructions in your owner’s manual to relight it. 
  • If the pilot light continues to extinguish, a new thermocouple may be needed – contact your plumber to replace this component.

Thermostat Malfunction

The role of the water heater’s thermostat is to keep tabs on water temperature inside the tank. When its temperature falls below the set point, the thermostat allows power to flow to the electric heating element or gas burner. If the thermostat doesn’t allow power for the heating process or isn’t reading temperatures accurately, a bad component can be the cause of cold water coming from the water heater system. Call your plumber to have the thermostat replaced.

Failed Heating Elements

Heating elements within the system are responsible for warming water. The heating element at the bottom of a tank water heater can fail if there is excessive sediment buildup within the tank, preventing heat from radiating to the water supply.

  • If you regularly drain your tank, try draining it to remove sediment. If you have never drained the tank and your water heater is several years old, draining the tank could cause leaks.
  • If the heating elements go bad, they will need to be replaced – contact your plumber for this type of repair.

Tripped High Limit Switch

If the high limit switch trips, it needs to be reset to prevent cold water.

  • Press the reset button on the limit switch to reset it, which is located on the upper thermostat.
  • If the switch trips again after a short period of use, the thermostat likely needs to be replaced.

Faulty Burners

In gas water heaters, burners ignite fuel to heat water. If the thermostat is working correctly but the burners do not engage, the burner assembly may require replacement. Contact your plumber to make this repair.

Contact Grove for a New Water Heater

When there is cold water coming from a water heater, homeowners may wonder if the issue should be repaired or if a new water heater is necessary. While a sudden supply of cold water is often due to a faulty component that can be repaired, you may want to consider replacement if your water heater has lost hot water volume over time and frequently runs out of hot water.

No one wants to be hit with cold water unexpectedly! Ensure your Maryland home’s water heater is capable of supplying ample hot water for your family when you upgrade to a new unit. Contact Grove Heating and Cooling today for water heater repairs or to request an estimate for new water heater installation.

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