There are few things worse than stepping into the shower and realizing that there’s no hot water! If your water heater isn’t working, this could be a very real thing.
So what do you do? How can you be sure your hot water heater is actually not working?
First step, check to see if it’s turned on. If the heater is outside, the wind may have blown out the pilot light. Within a few seconds, you can get it heating up the water again. Follow the instructions printed on the water heater, and you can get the pilot light lit easily.
If the pilot light is on, the solution may be as simple as turning up the temperature on the thermostat. The heater may not be up high enough, and it will only warm up the water. Turn the dial all the way to HOT, and see if the burner ignites. If it does, it means the water heater was turned too low. If it doesn’t, there could be another problem.
But what do you do if the water heater STILL doesn’t work? Should you try to fix it yourself? Unless you’re an HVAC professional, the answer is no.
If the pilot light comes on then flickers out once you take your hand off the knob, it could be a sign that something is wrong with the thermocouple. You can replace the part yourself, but it’s safer to call in a plumber or the utility company to do it for you.
If the water heater doesn’t turn on at all, it may be a sign that something is seriously wrong. Old water heaters tend to stop working after 10 or so years, so you may want to consider switching it out for a new one.