Why is My Hot Water Not Working But Cold Is?

why-no-hot-waterUpdated: March 23, 2023

When you turn your faucet handle to find the shower has only cold water, you are likely both frustrated and confused. You rely on your water to heat for bathing, washing dishes, and more. A water heater that stops producing hot water may have a tripped limit switch, a faulty power source, or broken heating components. There are several steps to take to investigate the origin of your hot water problem.



  • If your hot water isn’t running, check for leaks, tripped circuit breakers, or cracked pipes from the Cincinnati winter weather.
  • Contact experienced professionals in your area to inspect your water heater and determine the root cause of why your shower has only cold water.
  • Various things can lead to a water heater malfunction. It is best to have knowledgeable technicians advise you regarding the ideal next steps for repair or replacement.

Things To Consider if There Is No Hot Water in Your Home

You expect your household to have hot water when you turn on the faucet. If you suddenly have only cold water, you wonder, “Why isn’t hot water coming out from my shower or faucet?” When your hot water isn’t running, there may be several possible causes, such as a leaking water tank, a malfunctioning thermostat, or a failing gas valve. It is crucial to call experienced professionals to identify the cause of your problem and recommend the best remedy.

Leaking Water Heater Tank

Sometimes, a lack of hot water results from a leaking water tank. Your water heater cannot do its job if there is no water to heat. If you think that your hot water tank may be empty, you should turn off the water to your tank and call a plumbing expert to help you inspect the pipes, connections, and valves.

Even if you find standing water, it can sometimes be challenging to determine the source of the leak. If the bottom of the tank has a crack, you will need to replace your tank. However, leaking valves may run down the sides of your tank, giving the appearance that water is coming from the bottom. Hiring a knowledgeable plumber to recognize the problem helps you decide the best course of action to get your hot water running again.

Water Heater Gas Leak

Another possible reason your shower has only cold water is a gas leak. Gas leaks can be dangerous and require professional assistance. If you think this may be a concern, you must call your gas company right away. Their technicians determine if you have a natural gas leak and provide the necessary solutions. However, if there is no leak or you have additional issues with your water heater, you will need to contact a plumber in Cincinnati, OH, to assess and repair your appliance.

If you aren’t sure what kind of water heater you have, look for a chimney pipe that vents the exhaust fumes outdoors. If your system has a flue, it burns gas or propane to operate. Your appliance will also have a pilot light and a burner at the bottom behind an access panel.

Electric Water Heater Malfunction

With an electric water heater, a tripped breaker or high-temperature cutoff switch may be the reason your hot water isn’t running. Turn off your water heater, then check the circuit breaker for a tripped breaker. If this is the case, turn the breaker off and back on again. This process resets the functioning and may solve your problem. If your breaker trips again after resetting it, you likely have an issue that needs professional assistance to correct. Have an electrician inspect your circuit breaker to restore proper function.

Failing Water Heater Gas Valve

In houses that have a gas water heater, you need to inspect your appliance for potential damage. You may have a leaking supply line or gas valves that are not secure. Look to make sure the gas is on and check the pilot light. You may have to relight it to restore the heating capability. If the pilot light goes back out repeatedly, you may have an issue with your gas line.

Troubleshooting the cause of your gas water heater issue requires the help of experienced specialists. Knowledgeable technicians in the Cincinnati area can examine your unit, discover the problem, and offer potential resolutions. If your system has significant damage or does not operate well, you may want to consider investing in a new, more energy-efficient water heater. A trained tech can help you decide which units are best for your home.

Malfunctioning Water Heater Thermostat

When your house doesn’t have hot water, there may be a problem with your thermostat. Heating elements are more likely to fail than thermostats. You may have other issues, like sediment buildup, but you should not rule out the possibility of a thermostat malfunction. Enlist the help of an experienced service professional to diagnose potential concerns with your thermostat.

If your thermostat breaks with a single-element water heater, you will not have any hot water in the house. If you have a two-element water heater, it may utilize an upper and a lower thermostat. The hot water goes entirely out with this system when the upper thermostat does not work correctly. However, a malfunctioning lower thermostat still produces a limited amount of hot water.

Water Heater Tank Size

The size of your water tank makes a difference in its performance. If your appliance is too small, you run out of hot water faster and have poor energy efficiency. You may have recently increased the amount of hot water you use daily, causing you to notice the size issue. Conversely, if your water heater is too big, you use more energy than you need heating water you won’t use. Discuss your concerns with an expert in the industry to learn which size and type of models are best to meet your household needs.


During the colder winter months, it takes longer for your water to heat. This problem affects energy efficiency in all climates where the seasonal temperature fluctuates. In areas that experience severe cold temperatures, your pipes can freeze and burst, resulting in a low-performing water heater. If you have small, undetected leaks, you could end up with extensive damage over time. Ensure your pipes are clear of blockage and free from cracks by having a plumber inspect them for you.

Water Heater Installation and Repair in Cincinnati, OH

When your day starts with the question, “Why isn’t hot water coming out from my shower or faucet?” you need to call a skilled technician. At Herrmann Services, we examine your water heater, diagnose why your shower has only cold water, and present you with the best, most cost-efficient solutions to get your hot water running again.

Our family has been serving the communities of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky for more than 50 years. Our highly trained plumbers, electricians, and HVAC contractors have the skills and experience to ensure your water heater works correctly. Contact us at (513) 216-1355 for quality water heater repairs. Our experts can help find out why your hot water isn’t running and get everything working again as soon as possible.

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