Why Do I Have No Hot Water?

It has happened to all of us at some point in our lives – we get up, tumble into the shower only to be confronted by a wall of freezing cold water….there’s no hot water and now you are cold, wet and wondering what on earth is the matter. Well, actually, it could be any number of things that have gone wrong, from the easily fixable to the “need to call a plumber out” end of the spectrum.

Basic troubleshooting

The first place to start is to check all of the obvious issues that could be causing your boiler not to deliver heat to your hot water system.

  • Check all the taps in the house to see if it is a house-wide problem. It might just be your shower.
  • Check your electricity supply to your boiler. If you have kids or an enthusiastic cleaner, it may have been switched off at the wall without your knowledge.
  • Check your thermostat to make sure it is actually turned up high enough. If it has somehow been set to 30 degrees for your hot water then it is going to come out tepid.
  • Check your clock timer hasn’t been tampered with or that the timings haven’t changed due to a power cut or daylight saving.
  • Check the other appliances in your home that are linked to the gas supply – it might be a gas supply problem rather than a boiler issue, in which case you can contact the supply company to see when supply will be reestablished.
  • If the weather has been cold, you might have frozen pipes. Do check carefully for leaks, especially around the joints and outside pipework.

Other things you can try

Sometimes the issue is not as straightforward as the above, but could still be something that you can deal with or at leak check for yourself.

  • Your boiler may need to be reset and this can usually be done with a switch on the front of the boiler. It should not require you to take the front cover off. Only a plumber or electrician should ever do this.
  • If you can get into the loft, you can check the ball cock in the water tank to ensure that it hasn’t become stuck and is therefore preventing water from circulating correctly. You may be able to free it up or call a plumber for a replacement.
  • Take a look at the pressure gauge for your boiler. Generally it will be set at 1-bar and will have been set when it was installed. Your user manual may indicate how to re-pressurise your boiler if it has dropped – but if not, this is a job for a gas engineer.
  • How does the pilot light on your boiler look? It should usually be a blue colour and not be flickering or yellow. You can always restart your boiler if it has gone out completely – but a flickering light may be due to pressure problems as above.

If none of these things work and you are still without hot water, you may need to call out an expert. If it appears to be a boiler issue then you will need a gas safe engineer. If it is a pipework problem you need a plumber. Most gas engineers are good at working out whole house issues with hot water and will then be able to point you in the right direction to find a fix. If the worst case scenario does play out and you need a replacement boiler, then we’d recommend you head over to our replacement boiler guide for an introductory guide, or our types of boiler page for a rundown on each of the different types of boiler.