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What to do if you don’t have hot water

Finding out that you don’t have hot water is the last thing that any of us need. But don’t panic as our guide will show you how to quickly rectify the situation and get your hot water running again.

How to get your hot water running again

So, you have no hot water from your boiler? Although it’s difficult, DON’T PANIC! There are a number of things you can check and little fixes you may be able to do yourself before you need to start worrying about a big repair job.

Ignite the pilot light

You may not have hot water because your boiler’s pilot light has gone out. The pilot light is a blue flame that ignites once you turn on your hot tap. If this doesn’t happen, you’ll need to consult your manual as instructions on igniting it differ between manufacturers.

If it won’t return, it may be time to call out an engineer for a boiler repair.

Correct the boiler pressure

A common reason why your boiler isn’t producing hot water, both out of your taps and in your radiators, is that the boiler pressure setting is incorrect. This should sit between the 1 and 2 bars as anything less will cause problems with your hot water output.

If the pressure is too high, water can be released by the pressure relief valve, another problem you’ll definitely want to avoid! You could have a go at it yourself with our tips to fixing your boiler’s pressure before calling in the professionals.


Check the fuse

If your boiler is the only appliance in your home that won’t turn on, it may be something as simple as checking your fuse box. Check to see if a switch has tripped as this may be preventing any power being sent to the boiler to heat your water.

Check the hot water tank

While combi boilers are the most common choice for most small to medium-sized houses, there are different types of central heating systems, including those that still rely on a hot water tank to store their hot water requirement.

Just like combis, these tanks can also be regulated by a thermostat, which must also be set at the correct temperature and times.

Try Turning the Boiler Off and On Again

You’d be surprised how many faults can be remedied by simply turning your boiler off and on again and giving it the restart it needs.

Air in the pipes

Sometimes it isn’t the temperature of the water that’s the problem but the fact that the water is struggling to get to the taps because of an air bubble trapped in the pipes. While there are ways to correct this yourself, it can be a complicated fix. A qualified engineer is usually required to take a look.

Thaw your condensate pipe

In the winter months, the risk of your heating system being disrupted by the cold is significantly increased. One of the risks is your condensate pipe freezing, which could prevent wastewater being disposed of down the drain.

As metal piping can’t be used for this purpose, the condensate pipe is easy to spot as it will be the only pipe connected to the boiler that is plastic. Outside of your home, this pipe is then steeply angled into your drain to allow the wastewater to escape easily.

To thaw the condensate pipe pour hot (NOT BOILING!) water over the section of the pipe that look frozen as well as pipe connections like elbows as these tend to freeze quicker. Another useful tip is to lie hot water bottles on the pipe to apply heat for longer.

Using boiler water directly could do more harm than good to your pipes.

Once the pipe starts to thaw, you will see water begin to trickle out into the drain. Then you should reset the boiler in accordance with your manual, which will get rid of any fault codes.

Boiler is working but no hot water

While it may appear that your boiler is in fully working order, you could still find that there’s no hot water being produced.

This may be because you’ve had a power cut which has affected the boiler. A clue may be that the pressure has suddenly dropped to 0, which means you’ll have to repressurise between 1-2. This may also impact on the temperature setting for the hot water, which will also need to be corrected.

Radiators are hot but there’s no hot water

A frustrating problem may be that you have hot radiators but there’s no hot water coming out of your taps. This could be the result of a faulty diverter valve, particularly if you have a combi boiler.

These valves open and close depending on whether the hot water is required by your taps and household appliances or your heating system. When one function is working and the other one isn’t, it’s usually because the diverter valve is stuck. To fix this fault you should always contact an engineer.

What if you’re renting and have no hot water?

If you’re a renter, it can be hard to know where to turn when your hot water fails. As anyone renting a property would expect, it is the landlord’s legal responsibility to make sure your boiler is  working and to rectify and repair any problems under the Landlord and Tenant Act (1985).

You should contact your landlord in writing or via email and clearly explain the situation and what repairs are required. If your landlord is unresponsive, you are required to send a second letter. If this doesn’t work, you may request help from your local council, who have the power to enforce your landlord to uphold his responsibilities and can authorise repairs and send the bill to your landlord.

Is your boiler in need of a service?

Unfortunately, a loss of hot water can indicate a bigger problem, one you may not be able to fix on your own. If you’ve eliminated the possible causes that we’ve listed here, it may be time to bite the bullet and contact a qualified engineer to take a closer look.

To avoid being confronted with any nasty surprises in future, it’s highly recommended that you protect your boiler by having a boiler care plan in place. There’s also more information on our website about how often you should service your boiler, so that you can avoid losing your hot water or coming up against any other issues.

You could also check out some of the most common boiler faults and what you can do to fix them.