It can be frustrating to go to take a hot bath or shower only to be met with lukewarm or cold water. If you haven't been getting hot water, there are a number of things that could be causing your water heater to malfunction that you should know about.
Electrical Component Malfunction
There are two main types of water heaters, gas and electric. One of the more common problems when an electric water heater goes out is the failure of an electrical component like the thermostat. If the unit should be turning on, it's all plugged in, and nothing is happening, you want to first double check the connections to the unit and any switches or breakers leading to the unit first. If everything appears to be in order, you may have an issue with the thermostat itself. This is best replaced by a professional.
A Damaged Thermocouple
The other type of water heater is gas powered. A gas-powered water heater uses what is called a "thermocouple" to regulate the temperature and tell the heater when its time to turn on or off. It is a fairly simple fix and a replacement thermocouple is fairly inexpensive. To replace it, turn off the gas line valve going to the heater, then remove the whole burner and thermocouple assembly. It is easiest to unplug the thermocouple this way. Before replacing it, you may try to clean it off. Dirt and residue can build up causing it to give a faulty reading. If that still does not work, you can check the connections of the thermocouple with a digital current tester.
Pilot Tube is Dirty
It is possible for lint, dust, insects, or any number of objects to obstruct your water heater's pilot tube. This tube delivers the gas to the furnace, and if it becomes obstructed, it will not be able to deliver the gas your heater needs to function. A visual inspection can reveal if anything is blocking the pilot tube but be sure to turn the gas valve to the off position before inspecting or working on your water heater. It is also possible the obstruction is not easily visible, and a small object like a needle can be used to scrape any residue off of the inside of the pilot tube.
If none of the above reasons seems to be the cause of your faulty water heater, you should call in a water heater repair company. They will be able to tell you what is wrong and determine if you need a water heater replacement or not.
For water heater repair, contact a company such as Johnny Pipewrench LLC.