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Why Is Your Hot Water Heater Not Working And How To Fix

Just imagine you wake up one morning to take a warm and comforting shower and find your hot water heater not working and providing only cold shower water. Don’t panic; the hot water heater issue is a common household problem. Rooter-Man Chattanooga offers the best water heater repair services in Chattanooga and nearby areas.

Here, we will explore the causes behind a malfunctioning hot water heater and ways to troubleshoot, and when replacement is needed. So, get ready to enjoy those soothing, hot showers once more!

The Basics of Hot Water Heaters

Before diving into troubleshooting and repairs, it’s essential to understand the two primary types of hot water heaters commonly found in households:

Electric Hot Water Heater

Electric hot water heaters use electrical elements located at both ends of their tank to heat water efficiently and are widely used in homes. They are highly energy-efficient.

Gas Hot Water Heater

Gas hot water heaters use a gas burner to quickly heat water. While they’re known for their fast heating capabilities, they require access to a gas supply.

Now that we have reviewed the basics let’s examine why your hot water heater may not be operating as expected.

Must Read – How To Prepare Your Water Heater For Cold Months

Reasons Your Water Heater Is Not Working

Understanding what could cause a malfunctioning hot water heater is key to diagnosing and solving its cause. Understanding its common issues will allow for quicker solutions:

No Power Supply

a. Electric Heater: First, check whether there’s an outage or circuit breaker that has been tripped, then reset or make sure that the heater is connected and receiving power.

b. Gas Heater: Before operating a gas heater, double-check that there is a sufficient gas supply, that the pilot light is lit, and that there are no issues with the gas valve.

Sediment Buildup

Over time, sediment, minerals, and debris can accumulate at the bottom of your tank, decreasing heating efficiency and becoming an issue in hard water regions.

Thermostat Problems

The thermostat regulates the water temperature in your tank. If it fails, water may not heat to its optimal temperature.

Broken Heating Element

Electric hot water heaters relying on heating elements may eventually fail, making it impossible for water to be heated up efficiently. 

Pressure Relief Valve Issues

A pressure relief valve is intended to keep the tank from overpressurizing, and any malfunction may lead to water heater issues.


Water leaks may occur in any part of a heater, from its tank itself to its plumbing connections. A leak can alleviate the water heater’s efficiency and potentially damage your property.

Troubleshooting Your Hot Water Heater

Now that we understand what factors may contribute to a malfunctioning water heater let’s examine how you can fix these issues and get your hot water flowing again:

Check the Power Supply

Electric hot water heaters should have their circuit breakers adjusted correctly and connected to an outlet. Gas heaters need their pilot light appropriately illuminated, without any gas supply issues or pilot light burning out issues.

Examine all areas of the unit for any indications of water leakage. Any leaks must be fixed promptly, as they can lead to further damage and increase energy costs.

Flush the Tank

If sediment builds up in your hot water heater tank, flushing may help increase efficiency and prolong its life. Doing this may also increase heating efficiency while improving heating performance and increasing longevity.

Adjust the Thermostat

Make sure that the thermostat is set at your desired temperature, then gradually raise it until hot water begins flowing freely.

Test the Pressure Relief Valve

Raise the lever of the pressure relief valve to release some water and check if it is functioning as intended – be wary, though; hot water could be present!

Inspect the Heating Elements

Use a multimeter to inspect the heating elements in an electric heater. If either element proves defective, they should be replaced immediately.

Seek Professional Help

If you are having difficulties identifying or rectifying the problem, it may be prudent to contact a professional like Rooter-Man for water heater repair in Chattanooga. They have access to tools necessary for diagnosing and fixing complex issues efficiently.

When Is It Time for Water Heater Replacement?

While repairs may be possible for many hot water heater problems, in certain instances, replacement becomes the more cost-effective and practical choice:

Age of the Heater

Hot water heaters typically last 10-15 years before it may be time for replacement. If your existing one shows signs of age or frequent issues, now may be an opportune time to upgrade or consider replacement options.

Irreparable Damage

It may not be worth repairing extensive damage, such as corrosion or tank leaks, making replacement more economical and safe.

Inefficient Energy Use

Older water heaters tend to use energy less efficiently, so replacing them with more cost-cutting models could offer long-term cost savings.

Frequent Repairs

If your hot water heater requires frequent repairs, its cumulative costs could outstrip those associated with purchasing a replacement heater.

Changing Needs

Assuming your household has grown and your current water heater cannot keep up with increased demands for hot water, this could be an indicator that it may be time for an upgrade.

Safety Concerns

Ensuring everyone’s wellbeing should always come first. If there are safety-related concerns with your hot water heater, it may be prudent to replace it immediately.

Choosing a Water Heater Replacement

When selecting a new hot water heater, consider the following factors:

Fuel Source

Decide between electric and gas hot water heaters based on your home’s energy source and your preferences.


Choose the appropriate heater capacity to meet the hot water needs of your household.

Energy Efficiency

To save on energy bills, look for models with high Energy Factor (EF) ratings to reduce consumption costs.


Pay attention to the warranty offered by your manufacturer for peace of mind and potential cost savings on repairs.

Professional Installation

Always hire a certified technician for installation services to ensure a proper and safe process.

The Final Word on Hot Water Heater Issues

An inefficient hot water heater can seriously compromise your daily routine and comfort. By understanding its root causes and employing effective troubleshooting strategies, most issues with hot water heaters can often be remedied quickly and successfully. However, when facing irreparable damage, an increase in efficiency or changing needs is imminent, water heater replacement should be considered.RooterMan, the best plumbing company in Chattanooga, TN stands ready to assist with all of your water heater concerns. Our knowledgeable team specializes in hot water heater repair and replacement services to ensure you can access hot water when needed. Whether troubleshooting issues, performing repairs, or helping select an energy-efficient unit, RooterMan’s expertise and dedication keep your hot water flowing smoothly.

If you suspect that your pipes are leaking, don’t wait for those little leaks to turn into bigger trouble. Call Rooter-Man Chattanooga at 833-609-4933 to find leaky pipe repair near you now!

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