Has this ever happened to you: you prepare yourself for a hot shower only to find there’s no hot water running.
It could be worse. You may find that it’s not only the shower faucet that isn’t getting hot water but also the kitchen or another sink faucet too.
What adds to the frustration is that the cold water is running fine.
Believe me, I’ve been there and it’s not as bad a problem as you’d think.
In fact, hot water not coming out of the faucet is a pretty common issue to have.
With proper troubleshooting, you can easily identify the cause and in turn, resolve it.
Luckily, in this guide, I’ll show you the typical reasons why hot water has stopped coming out of a faucet or even all faucets.
I’ll be throwing in some tips and guaranteed methods to quickly fix the situation too.
I’ll also tell you how to prevent it from happening again.
Why You’re Only Getting Cold Water
There are many reasons why your faucet is only running cold water (vs no water coming out at all!).
Usually, your water heater and any exterior plumbing are where you want to look first.
A quick tip for you:
The cause will greatly depend on the nature of the plumbing problem you have.
For instance, sometimes the hot water tap is running water—it’s just not hot. Other times, it’s not coming out at all.
Let’s cut to the chase for these symptoms.
Here are four common causes behind hot water not coming out of the faucet but cold is.
Water Heater Valve is Off
This step is just to make sure that no one has tampered with your water heater beforehand.
Many are quick to dismiss this as a reason but checking if the water heater’s “out” valve is turned off is more of a preventative measure—just to rule it out!
Turn it on if you find it’s been closed. In case the problem persists or that’s not it, let’s look for other causes.
Faucet Temp Markings are Reversed
I’ve seen this happen more than once in any type of home, condo, apartment, and even an RV!
The hot and cold are reversed on your faucet – so, when you turn it to hot, you’re actually getting cold instead.
Read our article here on reversing the hot and cold on a faucet.
The hot water heater is up and running but none of the hot water is coming through? Check your pipes.
Most of the time debris buildup in the pipelines will prevent the water from flowing through easily.
When left unaddressed, this problem may lead to other plumbing issues, such as pipes bursting, water leakage, and improper draining.
My advice: try flushing out your waterlines to get rid of any minerals or sediments that have broken down in your pipes.
Rust and water don’t mix. That’s Plumbing 101.
It’s true that many of us don’t pay attention to rust so long as the water is still running.
The problem with rust is that there’s no way to pinpoint where or when it began either.
More than often though, it starts showing on the faucet’s exterior.
Or worse, in the water itself such as when you start seeing brown water coming out of your bathtub faucet!
What’s important is that you handle it as soon as possible.
Once you notice it, it’s time to replace the tap with a new one because rust can get in the way of water coming out from either side; hot or cold.
Hot water should run from your new faucet. If not, then the rust may be lacing the insides of your pipes and creating a blockage—in which case, you’ll need to change those too.
Air in Pipes
Since the pressure in hot water pipes is usually low, air bubbles tend to accumulate inside.
This isn’t so much an issue with cold water lines because they’re typically connected to the main supply pipes.
Air blockage may result in some hot water coming through, but the pressure can be so low that it’s not enough to create even a trickle.
It may also cause the water to come out cold instead of hot.
To clear the path of air, you’ll need to connect a hosepipe between both the cold and hot pipes.
The pressure will move from the cold one to the hot where it’ll eliminate the airlock.
How to Prepare for Fixing Your Faucet
The first thing you need to do is see if hot water isn’t running in one particular faucet or in every tap in the house.
Either way, you should shut off both the main water supply and the hot water valve so you can work freely.
You need to keep in mind too that you’ll be cleaning a lot of parts as you go to prevent rust from forming later on.
Materials you should keep on hand include:
- White vinegar or an acidic-based solution
- An old toothbrush
- A soft cloth or sponge
Additionally, some tools you might need are:
- A Philips screwdriver
- An Allen wrench
- Standard or needle-nose pliers
- A hosepipe or garden hose
3 Methods to Get Hot Water from Your Faucet Again
In this section, you’ll learn about three of my guaranteed methods to go about fixing such an inconvenient problem.
Check Your Gas Water Heater for Maintenance Issues
The water heater’s thermostat temperature should be set at 120 degrees and the pipes should be well-insulated.
One thing that tampers with the thermostat is sediment buildup in the valves.
A golden rule to remember is that the tank should be cleaned out annually.
It’s a simple process:
- Double-check that all water valves are turned off
- If there’s water in the tank, let it cool first
- Turn on the hot water faucet to drain the pipes
- Connect a hosepipe between the drain valve and the water heater
- Turn on the spigot till the water runs clear
- Flush cold water through the drain as an extra measure
Clean Out Your Faucet Pipes
This is a necessary step to prevent rust or sediment from building up in the faucet.
Cleaning your water pipes begins by removing the faucet’s aerator. The tool you use (a screw or a ply) will depend on the kind of faucet you have.
- Drain part of your water heater’s tank using a hosepipe
- Add as much vinegar as the water you drained
- Turn the heat valve back on
- Open the hot-side tap till you smell vinegar
- Soak the aerator and other parts in vinegar for five minutes
- Reinstall them once the water runs clear and doesn’t smell
Diagnose the Electric Water Heater
If you have an electric water heater check to see that there are no fuses blown first.
However, that being said make sure to refer to the user manual for your model, as the specifications and ratings of different units filters may vary.
Inspect your panel to ensure that the buttons and temperature cutoffs are working.
In case of water leakage, however, try tightening the valves.
Replace your unit if the problem persists, though.
Sometimes the heating elements need to be changed:
- Remove the cover and insulation
- Drain the water from the water heater through a hose
- Use a socket to remove a screw-in heating element
- Unscrew the gasket if you own flange-type heating rods
- Inspect the element for damage
- Replace with new ones that have similar voltage power
- Refill the tank before reconnecting the wires
Finally, if you suspect the issue lies in your faucet’s valve function, check our guide on fixing a shower faucet that’s turning but no water is coming out.
Again, whether it’s the shower, tub or sink, you may find you need to address a problem with your faucet handle or knob.
How to Prevent Your Faucet from Running Only Cold Water
One preventative measure you can take to avoid your faucet from running only cold water again is to regularly maintain your water heater.
With a gas water heater, you’ll need to clean out the combustion chambers every year or so.
You need to replace the filters of any water heater to save energy.
Check that the thermostats are functioning well and not short-cycling.
Another measure is to annually flush out the pipes to extend the water heater’s lifespan.
Remember to inspect the pressure valves and anode rod as well.
If necessary, insulate the pipes insulating tubes. It’ll help keep your water warm.
Important Considerations You Should Keep In Mind
One tip to keep in mind is to never touch a water heater until you’re sure it’s the cause of your issues.
Water heaters are complicated appliances and unless you have some experience with them, don’t take them apart just yet.
The same goes for removing and replacing heating elements.
You need to make sure that you’re using parts that are compatible with your water heater too.
Remember that the worst-case scenario for why hot water not coming out of the faucet will be rusty pipes.
This may result in a bigger DIY project than you can handle as you may end up needing to replace the entire water line.
The video above is a great example that shows what you need to go over beforehand as well as the necessary tools to remove your pipes.
Why Does Hot Water Not Come Out of the Faucet in Cold Weather?
The reason for this typically goes back to frozen pipes. In cold weathered environments, it’s not unusual to see icicles forming alongside the waterlines.
That’s why I keep mentioning insulating the pipes; it’ll prevent such issues from happening.
How Do You Clear an Airlock in a Hot Water Tap?
It’s a simple two-step process. Attach a hose from the cold to the hot faucet. Then, run cold water until the air clears.
Make sure that your tank isn’t running dry since that is what causes the airlock in the first place.
Is hot water not coming out of your faucet? No need to panic!
By checking your water heater and water pipes, you’re bound to come across the cause of the issue.
Luckily, most problems can be quickly fixed with the right tools and experience.