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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.

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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.

Is your boiler working?

Ok, this may seem obvious, but the first thing you should be checking is whether or not your boiler is working. The biggest sign that something is wrong will be a change in the colour of the display along with an error code.

While some faults are easy to rectify yourself, it’s recommended that you contact a qualified engineer if you’re unsure.

You can find out what the error code means by consulting your boiler manual or by checking out one of our fault code pages.

Vaillant boiler fault codes

Baxi boiler fault codes

Ideal boiler fault codes

Worcester Bosch boiler fault codes

Combi boiler has no hot water

There are a number of things you can try yourself if you're left without hot water from your combi boiler all of a sudden. Here we run through the possible causes and the quick fixes.

1. Check your gas, electricity, and water supply

If your boiler has no display at all. Then there may be an issue with your power supply. Check your fuse box and your boiler settings, both of which may have been affected by a recent power cut.

You should also check to see if any water is coming from your taps and that your other gas appliances are working.ther gone forward or back.

2. Check the boiler is set correctly

Your boiler’s settings may have been changed by mistake to provide just heating only. You should also check that your hot water is set to a reasonable temperature.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Check the thermostat

Make sure that your thermostat hasn’t been incorrectly set and is telling your boiler to send cold water to your system. It may be that your thermostat has been left alone with children, who have treated it like a video game!

Most modern boilers allow you to quickly change the temperature of your heating or hot water with a simple dial. Make sure that this hasn’t been moved accidentally.

6. Reset your clock and timer

If you use the timer on your boiler, it’s worth making sure that it’s set for the hot water to come on at the right time. You may not have adjusted it when the clocks have either gone forward or back.

Still can’t get hot water?

While a lot of the issues associated with a lack of hot water can be resolved easily, there are some fixes that can be a little more complex.

1. Reset the boiler

It may be that your boiler requires a full boiler reset to get it back up and running properly and providing you with the hot water you need.

Sometimes you’ll need to reset a boiler anyway after there’s been a fault in the system. When you reset, your boiler will be rebooted to run as usual. 

You’ll also want to reset a boiler when you’ve bled any radiators or changed the pressure within your central heating system.  


2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Check for leaks

If your central heating is leaking, this will lead to a drop in pressure, along with a loss of hot water. Besides the problems with your hot water, this may also lead to rot and structural problems if left untreated, so it is worth calling a qualified engineer to take a look.

When checking your boiler and around your system, don’t mistake condensation for a leak. If the appearance of water is condensation then it will dry up once the boiler heats up. If it doesn’t then you probably have a leak on your hands.

If you do have a hot water tank, you could check the drain valve at the base to see if it’s dripping and loosen and tighten again to get rid of any obstructive sediment. However, with any leak, it’s likely that you’ll require the services of an engineer.

5. 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.

6. Thaw your condensate pipe

Another cause of no hot water could be frozen pipes. 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.

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.

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 repair?

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 cover 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 in our dedicated guide.