Hot water is essential to modern living – life just isn’t as comfortable without it. 

Whether it’s for showering or doing the laundry, ensuring your water heater is working properly for ongoing access to warm water is essential for your daily routine. However, when it suddenly becomes unavailable, it can cause periods of serious frustration and inconvenience. 

This blog post will explore the steps you can take when you have no hot water and how to prevent the issue from happening again.

What is a Hot Water Heater?

A hot water heater is a household appliance used to heat water for showers, baths, washing dishes and clothes, and more. 

There are two main types available: tank and tankless. 

A hot water heater with a tank stores a certain amount of water in the unit and uses a heating source, such as natural gas or electricity, to heat the water. The water is ready for use at any time.

On the other hand, tankless hot water heaters warm the water on demand as it flows through the unit. This type of system offers lower energy consumption than the stored water options as it only heats water as needed rather than continuously heating and holding a large amount of water. They are also often smaller and can be mounted on a wall, saving space in the home. 

Regardless of your choice, a hot water heater is an essential appliance for modern households because it provides a convenient source of warm water for daily use, so it is considerably noticeable when there is no hot water.

Common Causes of Electric Water Heater Failure

Electric water heaters are commonplace for accessing hot water for many Australian households, but like all appliances, they can fail over time. 

If you are noticing too much hot water, or after a few hours and there is still no hot water at all, here are some of the causes why you may have no hot water for your home:

Appliance Age

Whether you have a gas water heater or an electric option, your hot water tank usually has a lifespan of roughly 8-12 years. As the water heater ages, it becomes less efficient and more susceptible to crucial components failing, such as the circuit breaker. 

In these circumstances, your electric hot water heater will likely require replacement.


Over time, corrosion can damage the interior of the heating elements, including the upper heating element and other aspects of your electric water heaters, leading to leaks and other problems. Leaking water can become an extremely dangerous issue that needs fixing ASAP to avoid any further issues.

Faulty Thermocouple or Thermostat

The thermostat is responsible for controlling the temperature of the water. If it fails, the water may become too hot or not hot enough. For a gas-powered water heater, the thermocouple measures the temperature. When each element isn’t working at full strength, it prevents the system from functioning correctly and working at the proper heat setting.

Failed Heating Element 

The heating elements in an electric water heater can burn out, resulting in no hot water. This usually indicates the heating element requires replacement, so you’re not stuck with only cold water when taking a shower or washing the dishes. 

Lack of maintenance

As with all plumbing, regular maintenance is essential for household appliances to remain efficient ongoing. It means doing more than just referring to the owner’s manual occasionally. Whether you have a tankless heating system or one with a tank, regular maintenance should include checking the upper thermostat, flushing the tank, checking the anode rod, and tightening any loose connections.

Understanding the common causes of why you may have not enough hot water can help you diagnose and resolve problems before they become a more significant concern. Regular maintenance and quick action can extend the lifespan of your electric water heater and keep your household running smoothly.

How to Avoid Hot Water System Failure

You can avoid the lack of hot water flowing to your household by following these troubleshooting tips:

  • Regular maintenance: Catch issues before they become big, such as a water leak, broken pilot light or limit switch, by checking our system regularly.
  • Proper installation: Ensure the system is installed by a licensed professional who adheres to local building codes and regulations.
  • Correct sizing: Ensure your storage tank water heaters aren’t too small or too large for your household’s needs which can result in inefficiency and frequent failure.
  • Quality equipment: Investing in high-quality hot water equipment can help prevent frequent breakdowns and prolong the life of your water heater system.
  • Regular temperature check: Regularly check the temperature of the heated water to see if there has been a significant change and adjust as needed. Doing this can prevent damage to the system and ensure it’s operating at peak efficiency.
  • Avoid overloading: Overloading the electric unit by running multiple taps at the same time can put a strain on the system and increase the risk of failure.
  • Insulation: Proper insulation of pipes and water heaters can help reduce heat loss and prevent the system from overworking.
  • Water quality: Hard or high mineral water can damage storage tank heaters over time. Consider installing a water softener or other water filtration system to protect the system.

These steps to ensure your hot water temperature remains consistent can help keep your household running smoothly and prevent significant inconveniences, like an unintentional cold shower. 

It’s Time to Call the Professionals for Your Hot Water Heater

There are certain situations when it is time to call professional plumbers for water heater repair. They can accurately diagnose why the system isn’t functioning properly, provide a solution, and perform necessary restorations.

It is always advisable to call a professional plumber when needing water heater repair or replacement, as we have the necessary training, experience, and equipment to handle the job safely and efficiently. We assess the problem, identify potential hazards, and provide lasting solutions, which may include repairing or replacing electrical parts with the aid of a qualified electrician.

Don’t hesitate to call Canberra Plumbing & Drains whenever you experience cold water when it should be hot. Let us help you get your water flowing again.