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When Is It Normal To Not Have Hot Water?

by Ryan Wright

Everyone has had one of those moments when they turned on the hot water faucet only to find there was no hot water. This can occur in a number of situations that are so common that people may think of them as normal, but that's not really the case. If you have a working hot water heater, you should get hot water from the faucet quickly. You may have to have some minor repairs done to help ensure you have enough hot water.

Technically, It's Normal Only When You Turn on Just the Cold Water Faucet

You really should get hot water when you turn on the hot water faucet. A second or two of cold water is simply the result of water sitting right by the faucet valve, waiting to be used, but the hot water should appear quickly. Other than those brief seconds, the only time when you shouldn't have hot water is when you turn on the cold water faucet.

Cold Pipes and Air Could Be an Issue

One potential cause of no hot water is ambient temperature and pipe location. Pipes that are not insulated can lose heat easily, meaning that hot water traveling from the hot water heater to the faucet can lose a lot of its heat along the way. This isn't much of a problem in summer, but in winter it can be very noticeable. The hot water eventually arrives, but only after several minutes of running the water.

Insulation is key. Either the pipes need to be insulated, or the outer walls of the house need to be insulated. The hot water heater should be inspected, too, to ensure its thermostat is working well.

Excessive Demand May Reduce Hot Water Availability

It's also possible that excessive demand has taken all the hot water before it reaches the faucet you're at. This does not mean the hot water faucet runs dry, but that the demand for hot water is so great that the hot water heater can't keep up and can't heat the water quickly enough, so all the water that comes out of the hot water heater ends up being cold.

While that would normally call for installing a second water heater, it's also a sign to get the current one checked for excessive sediment buildup or clogged lines. If the hot water never appears — nothing happens even when demand lessens — then repairing the thermostat may be the top task.

Have a hot water heater repair company inspect the water heater and see if it needs to be drained to remove sediment or have its thermostat fixed. The technicians may also be able to help with insulating pipes leading away from the water heater to ensure you have hot water all year long.