I don’t have any hot water! | 13 Common Causes and How to Fix Them

As one of the more common problems that can occur with your central heating system, having no hot water can be very frustrating.

Having no hot water is the last thing you need!

Hot water is something that many people take for granted, and it can be a nightmare when it’s no longer available to us. With this in mind, sometimes we just want our appliances to work without any issues. If you find yourself in this same position – and if you’re not getting any hot water at all – relax. You’re about to get the no-nonsense responses and suggestions you’ve been after so that you can sort everything out.

Going through the checklist of reasons can help add clarity to your situation, and help you identify what’s gone wrong,

Before going into any more detail, if you’d like any further information on related topics, why not take a look at some of our previous articles?

In order to help you solve this problem quickly, we’ve collated all the information you need to make sure you understand why you might be dealing with no hot water, and what can be done about it.

If you feel like this issue has come up too often and it’s time for a new boiler, call us directly on 029 2009 9898 to speak to one of our in-house heating experts. Alternatively, for a FREE, no-obligation quote you can enter your postcode below, then hit the green button. Easy!


Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get stuck in!


What to do if you have no hot water

Now for the important part.

It’s all well and good knowing the cause of the problem, but now you need to identify what can be done to solve it and get your hot water back.

A lot depends on what kind of boiler you’re dealing with as well. If it’s a combi boiler, chances are you’re going to have a faulty component. You’ll need to check the system pressure, gas supply and whether you have electricity available or not. If you’ve checked for these as well as any error codes and you’re still not getting a supply of hot water, then you’ve probably got a faulty component somewhere inside your boiler.

If you currently have an open vent boiler (otherwise known as ‘regular’ to most people) and you’re not getting any hot water, it’s likely because of the external controls you have such as thermostat or motorised valve.

1. Check that your boiler is working

This can sometimes be TOO obvious, but it’s one of the first things you should be doing. You’ll know if there are any issues with your hot water supply if the boiler is showing some kind of error code on the front panel display.

Error codes can be found on your boiler's control panel

Error codes can be found on your boiler’s control panel

Some brands have different error codes, so to identify the meaning behind a particular code, consult your boiler’s instruction manual or contact your manufacturer. In some cases, you might find that a simple boiler reset will resolve the issue. However, if you feel unsure about anything, speak to a professional for reliable advice and support.

If you have a Viessmann Vitodens 050 boiler, you can find out how to reset the boiler by watching the following short video:

 

2. Check you still have an electricity, gas and water supply

Check your gas, electric and water supply

Similar to the first suggestion, in order to rule out several causes for having no hot water, you need to check your electricity, gas and water supply.

Start by checking the boiler’s control panel first. If nothing is being displayed, check with other appliances to see if you’re getting any power. Check your fusebox as well to make sure all the switches are in the correct position. If you’ve recently had a powercut, this may also be the cause of having no power.

For checking your gas and water supply, this is also reasonably easy. Simply check your gas supply using another gas appliance such as your cooker. For water, you can check you have a supply coming in by running the tap.

Having these checked and help you solve the mystery

 

3. Reset your boiler

The classic ‘turn it off and on again’ suggestion is a classic for a reason.

Resetting your boiler is a classic technique

If you can access the reset function on your boiler, resetting your boiler may help remedy the problem. If this DOES solve it, be aware that you may need to set the timer and thermostat up again. For instructions on how this can be done, take another look at the short video further up the post!


4. Check your boiler’s clock and timer

Controls for clock and timer can be found at the front of the boiler

We mentioned it in the last point, but checking the clock and timer on your boiler can also give you some answers for why you have no hot water.

Check that everything has been set to the right time. Even something as insignificant as clocks going forward/back an hour can determine when your hot water comes on. If you’ve had it set to come on outside the time you want to use it, it can give the impression that you might not have any hot water available at all.

 

 5. Check your thermostat

Nest Learning Thermostat

In the case of many older boilers, a thermostat may only be a dial on the wall that you control manually. However in recent years, thermostats have become primarily digital, able to provide detailed and necessary information to help you save money on your energy bills.

Even so, a thermostat can still be knocked, so settings can still be changed accidentally.

To make sure this isn’t the reason behind having no hot water, check that your thermostat hasn’t accidentally been switched to ‘Off’. To confirm if this is the cause, you should set the temperature to a higher value than normal. If you hear the boiler firing up, then the problem should be fixed. However if you’re not getting any response, you need to have an engineer take a look at the thermostat and fix the issue.

There are many different thermostats currently available on the market. Manufacturers include Nest, Hive, Tado, Ecobee, Netatmo and Honeywell. For an informative breakdown of which thermostat is best, take a look at our Nest vs Hive comparison article.


6. Check your boiler’s pressure level

If you currently have a sealed system or combi boiler in your home, you might have no hot water because your boiler’s pressure level is too low. This won’t be the case if you currently have an open vent (or regular) boiler, because there’s no pressure levels to check.

The ideal level for your boiler to operate comfortably is around 1.4 bar. To check this, you need to find the pressure gauge which is typically displayed at the very front of the boiler.

Pressure gauge location

Around the front of the boiler is where you can find most pressure gauges

Thankfully, you can take steps to repressurise your boiler and fix the issue. To do so, you can follow these instructions:

  • Turn your boiler off.
  • Find your boiler’s filling loop (usually located directly underneath).

Boiler filling loop

  • If there are two handles, turn one fully to match the direction of the pipe. Then very slowly open the third in the same way.

Filling loop instructions

  • As this happens, keep an eye on your boiler’s pressure gauge. As more water is being added to the system, you want to keep an eye on the pressure gauge’s needle and make sure it lands around the 1.4 bar mark.
  • Once it his 1.4 bar, return the filling loop handles to their original position.

To learn more about this useful component, take a look at our Boiler Filling Loop article.

For a more detailed breakdown of how to repressurise your boiler, you can watch the short video below:


7. Check that none of your pipes are frozen

This one is particular relevant if you’re smack in the middle of winter.

A frozen pipe can have a big effect on your boiler’s performance – not just in the short term, but if left untouched, the damage can be seen for years.

Out of everything in your central heating system, you need to check the condensate pipe outside.

Condensate Pipe with lagging

Condensate Pipe with lagging

The primary function of the condensate pipe is to transfer acidic waste water produced from the boiler’s condensing process safely away and out the property via an external drain.

To combat this common cause for no hot water, you simply need to pour hot (but never boiling) water slowly over the frozen pipe in question. This may need to be done more than once, but if you find it’s not solving the problem, you may need to have a professional engineer come and inspect the issue.

no hot water, frozen condensate solution

If you’d like more information on what a condensate pipe is and how you can help to lower your energy bills, click here.


8. Check your diverter valve

Diverter Valve

At this point, if you’re getting hot water for your central heating but nothing for your taps and showers, there’s a strong chance that it’s something to do with your boiler’s diverter valve. This key component is what allows you to switch between DHW (Domestic Hot Water for your taps etc) and central heating.

If you find that your boiler is only able to heat up your radiators and nothing for your taps and showers, it’s more than likely because your diverter valve is stuck. This is just as true if it’s ONLY hot water you’re getting with nothing for your radiators.

Please be aware that any issue you have with a particular component will still need to be addressed specifically by a Gas Safe engineer.

Want to know more about your boiler’s Diverter Valve? Click here to read our informative breakdown article on this vital boiler component.

 

What else can I check?

Thankfully, there is plenty more you can do to identify why you’ve got no hot water beyond what’s listed. As well as what’s already been covered, here are several more options for you to try:

9. Have you had a power cut recently?Make sure you pilot light doesn't go out

We mentioned it near the start of this blog post, but power cuts will cause your boiler to cut out just like every other mains-powered appliance. If it’s happened to you recently, report it as soon as you can, then wait until the power comes back on. Once it does, check your boiler – it’s likely that it’s reverted back to its original factory settings and won’t be operating in quite the same way.

To remedy this, you simply need to change the boiler’s settings so that it’s back to the way it was before the power cut.

10. Check that your pipes don’t have any airlocks

An often hidden cause of having no water, it’s always worth checking your pipes to see if they have any air blockages in them.

As one might assume, an ‘airlock’ is essentially when air gets trapped in your pipework, in particular often building up in the high points to cause a complete blockage.

There are many ways to solve this problem, with several methods considered universal. However, we cannot recommend or endorse any practices that may affect your warranty if you’re not experienced or qualified. If you have any questions about how to check airlocks, you should contact someone for professional advice.

11. Check that you have credit

If you have a prepaid meter, it’s always worth checking to see that you have credit on your account. If you don’t, this is one of the first things that you’ll need to sort out.

 

No hot water for your gas boiler?Having no hot water can be very frustrating

If you have a gas boiler and none of the above methods have worked, you can also give some of these checks a try. Bear in mind that when dealing with a gas appliance,  you must use extreme caution. Any potential leaks are incredibly dangerous. If you have any doubt when exploring these options, you need to speak to a professional.

12. Pilot Light

A pilot light going out is easily one of the more common causes of no hot water for any non-condensing gas boiler.

Its one and only function is to ignite the gas which in turn heats the water inside the boiler. Therefore, it’s easy to see just how important the pilot light is in making sure you have a fully functioning boiler.

Because this is a gas related issue, if you have concerns that your pilot light keeps going out, you need to contact a professional immediately.

13. Check for leaks

This issue is related more to pressure levels of your boiler, but can still have an effect on the availability of hot water.

If your central heating system does have a leak somewhere, it will result in a drop in pressure, making it difficult to get any hot water out your taps. Have a look around your property and see if you can find any signs of wet patches around ceilings, pipes and woodwork as well as mould building up.

 

Conclusion

If you’re getting no hot water from your central heating system, make sure you’ve done everything you can by going through the steps listed in this article.

If the problem still persists, then it’s worth speaking directly to a heating expert so that you can weigh up your options for how the problem’s going to be solved. When doing this, you can get a decent idea on the cost of any repairs or replacements.

However, you may have already gone through this process. If this is the case and you find yourself going through repairs for your old boiler quite often, then it might be worth considering a whole boiler replacement instead. This is especially true if your boiler is more than 10 years old , as it’s efficiency levels will also be taking a beating.

If this is the case, you can speak to one of our in-house heating experts to discuss any desires and requirements you might have. Doing this will ensure you will have a boiler that’s perfect for you and your home. To do so, all you need to do is call us on 029 2009 9898, or get a FREE, no-obligation quote by entering your postcode in the box below, then hitting the green button!

  
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