What to do when your hot water is not working

Just imagine – you’re about to have your morning shower, you turn the tap to hot, but you’re hit with an icy blast. What a nightmare!

Luckily, there’s a few things you can do to get your hot water running again.

Electric vs gas boilers

Your home will most likely use a water boiler to supply hot water. There are two common types:

  • electric heaters which use a heating element powered by electricity, and
  • gas heaters that use natural gas to produce a flame to heat the water.

Both systems can have unique issues, but they can also share some common problems.

Why is my hot water system not working?

It could be due to a number of factors, including:

  • the age and condition of your boiler
  • the boiler’s thermostat settings, and
  • your gas or electrical supply.

What if my hot water runs out too quickly?

Check whether you have multiple appliances using hot water simultaneously – such as washing machines or someone using hot water in the kitchen sink. This can increase demand on your hot water supply, leaving you with freezing water during your shower or bath.

Another common cause could be sediment build-up. Minerals like rust and sand from the water supply can accumulate and settle at the bottom of the water boiler. These insulate the water in the tank from the heating source and stop it from heating up. A professional plumber may be required to drain your water and flush out the sediment.

If you have the Apia Home Assist optional cover on your Apia Home and Contents policy and you have a home emergency at your insured address – such as your hot water not working – we will dispatch a tradesperson to your home for a period of up to 2 hours. They can provide assistance and undertake repairs – using repair materials covered up to $50 – to address the cause of the emergency.

You’re entitled to three emergency call-outs from our trusted list of tradespersons, with no excess payable, during the policy period. For full details of what is and isn’t covered please refer to the PDS.

Get Apia Home Assist

What if there’s no hot water at all?

If your home has an electric water boiler, check the following:

  • Switch the water boiler off at the main outlet, wait a few seconds, then try turning it on again.
  • Reset your boiler’s thermostat – you can see if it’s working by comparing the gauge measurement with the water temperature.
  • If there’s been a power interruption, see if any switches have tripped and reset them – if any fuses have blown, make sure they are replaced by a professional.

If you have a gas boiler, keep an eye out for these:

  • Is the pilot light switched off? This light is responsible for igniting the gas to heat the water in the boiler. Relight it safely by following the instructions for your specific boiler model.
  • Check the supply switch and see if it’s broken or has been turned off. This could be preventing gas from reaching the pilot light.
  • If you notice a gas leak – either through the smell of sulphur or a hissing sound near the water boiler or gas supply line – turn off the gas switch immediately and call a professional.

Check the warranty of your hot water system

Like any other appliance, hot water boilers also have a life expectancy – which can range from five to ten years depending on their quality and material. Stainless steel tanks may, for instance, last longer than copper tanks.

If you’ve had your water boiler for over a decade and start having issues with your hot water, then it may be time to find a replacement.

Who to call if there’s still no hot water

Sometimes it’s easier and more helpful to call a professional to figure out the issue.

If you have Apia Home Assist on your Home Insurance policy for 24 hours or more, you can call us on 13 50 50 and get help from our qualified tradies when you need it, 24/7.

Contact Apia Home Assist

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Australian Pensioners Insurance Agency Pty Ltd (Apia) ABN 14 099 650 996 AR 239591 is an authorised representative of AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859, the product issuer. Read the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. The Target Market Determination is also available.

The advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.

The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.