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What to Do if You Have No Hot Water

Posted On: August 18, 2021

Showers, dishwashers, laundry, cooking — it’s easy to take it for granted that you’ll always have available the hot water you need to perform these daily tasks. In fact, the water heater that provides this vital service is often overlooked … until you get shocked by a suddenly freezing cold shower.

Water Heater Checklist

Don’t ignore the warning signs — if the pipes in your Northern Virginia home are refusing to warm up, it may be time for professional service. Here’s what to look for first:


Do you know how old your water heater is? Can you remember the last time it was serviced? If you don’t know the answer or can’t find it in your filing cabinet, chances are good that it’s time for retirement. The average unit lasts between eight and 12 years, although a tankless system can run as much as 20 years. Regardless of which one you have, if it’s reaching the 10-year mark, then scheduling a professional inspection should be your next move. This will pinpoint the exact issue and determine if a fix or replacement is needed.


Is your water heater the right size for your household? Smaller units (around 50 gallons) are suitable for a home with two or three people. In comparison, larger families require bigger units, about twice that size. If you’re suddenly dealing with a lack of hot water, you may need to upgrade the water heater to match your home’s demands.


Is your water heater set too low? An ideal temperature is between 122 and 140 degrees. While keeping it set lower will save you money, dipping below this range risks not only lukewarm showers but also the growth of dangerous bacteria. Suppose your water heater isn’t set at the proper temperature. In that case, a simple adjustment should get the hot water flowing within an hour.

Operation Issues

Sometimes, the water runs cold due to an operating fluke. There are a few things you can check on your own first, including:

  • Relight the pilot light
  • Check for tripped circuit breakers
  • Inspect the gas line

As always, use extreme caution, especially when dealing with gas. Contact a plumbing professional immediately if you are ever unsure of how to proceed or encounter a dangerous situation.

Trust Your Water Heater to C.B. Lucas

Your water heater is one of the most complex working appliances in your home, so give it the attention it deserves! C.B. Lucas offers everything you need to keep your water heater running at full speed, whether you need to maintain, repair, or replace it.

If you need reliable HVAC, plumbing, and electrical services in Prince William and Fairfax counties, you can count on us! Schedule service online or give us a call at (703) 590-3700.

Family Owned & Operated Since 1977
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