Nothing wakes you up like the cold adrenaline rush you get when you step into the shower and discover … no hot water! A lack of hot water can be caused by any number of problems. There are a few things you can do to help your plumbing professional diagnose your hot water problem.
If you see water leaking from the bottom of the water heater, the unit may have an internal crack. This means that you will need a new water heater. Other problems are less catastrophic and can typically be repaired by a plumbing professional.
On the other hand, if your water heater is leaking from the top of the unit, the culprit is most likely a malfunctioning fitting or other part. In most cases, it's a simple repair.
Some problems leading to a lack of hot water are because of the unit itself. If your hot water heater runs on natural gas and you don't have hot water, it may be that your pilot light is out. This may be something you can fix yourself, but natural gas is nothing to play around with. Be safe and contact a professional to get your pilot relit and to make sure there's not a bigger underlying problem.
On electric units, check to make sure that a circuit breaker has not tripped. If all breakers are intact and you still have no hot water, your unit's thermostat may have failed. Again, this is a repairable situation and can be fixed quickly by a plumbing professional.
Sometimes a water heater is simply unable to keep up with a household's demand. This can be caused by wear and tear, sediment buildup or simply increased demand. Whatever the cause, if you are experiencing a lack of hot water, don't hesitate to call a pumbing professional right away.