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No Hot Water from Your Boiler? Here’s Why & How to Fix It

no hot water

Is there anything more distressing than turning on the taps to find that hot water has abandoned you in your hour of need? When it’s freezing outside, or you’ve endured the day from hell, a cold shower is probably up there with the last things you need. But there’s no major need to panic. If there’s no hot water coming from your boiler, there are a number of reasons and easy fixes before you need to consider

Why is there no hot water coming from your boiler? 

If your boiler is firing up, but there is no hot water, then you have come to the right guide on why this could be.

Despite the wonders of modern technology, there is a risk of things going awry with your boiler, and sudden refusal to heat water can be a very worrying turn of events. The good news is that, often, there’s a simple solution.

If you’re seeking solace while shivering after a particularly unpleasant lukewarm kettle bath, you’ve come to the right place! Here’s a handy guide to why your combi boiler is not heating water. 

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Troubleshooting 101: the most common reasons why there is no hot water from your boiler

Even the most optimistic, cheery types may struggle to stay positive when the boiler is playing up, and there’s no hot water running freely from the bath taps. If you’re having issues with your boiler, and you haven’t got any hot water, there could be several reasons.

We’ll talk you through some of the most common obstacles now so that you can hone your troubleshooting skills and see if you can find a solution and save you from new boiler cost!

Before you begin your quest to fix a broken boiler

Before you start frantically trying to decipher error codes or check individual components of the heating system, it’s a good idea to make sure that your home hasn’t been affected by any kind of outage that might impact the boiler.

If there’s been an incident in the local area, or a power cut, for example, the provision of services might be interrupted. Check other appliances and your gas supply and look on the Internet for news and updates. If there is a local or regional issue, your boiler should return to normal as soon as it has been fixed.

If there aren’t any issues to report, and your boiler is flying solo in terms of not playing ball, these issues might be to blame:

1. Pilot light problems

no hot water from boiler

This may sound like a catchy 21st-century hashtag, but it’s actually a very common cause of combi boilers going on the blink when you fancy a hot shower. The pilot light must be illuminated for the boiler to function, so if your light has gone out, this is probably the root of your boiler dilemmas.

To generate hot water, boilers burn gas or oil, and to do this; they need the pilot light to be on. If the pilot light has gone off, this means that your boiler will not produce hot water.

If you have an old boiler, you might be able to spot the pilot light through the frame of the unit. In this case, it may be possible to see if the light has gone off. In the case of newer boilers, you’ll usually be presented with an error code, which pops up on the monitor.

While this is probably not the best ‘you’ve got mail’ moment you’ve ever enjoyed, at least you’ll be able to tell what the problem is before you devote more time and energy to other possible causes. 

If the pilot light has gone out, or you’ve opened the boiler cupboard to find an error code of doom, the next step is to grab your boiler manual and follow the instructions to fire up the pilot light again. There should be clear guidance provided, and hopefully, once you’ve followed the steps, the boiler should respond.

If you don’t get the reaction you desired, and you still haven’t got a functioning pilot light, it may be time to call in the pros. In many cases, it will be possible to carry out repairs, and your engineer will discuss their findings with you. 

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2. Frozen pipes

no hot water from boiler

If you’re not willing to channel Elsa and Anna and let it go, you’ll want to find a quick fix for frozen pipes. This is a problem that you’ll probably have guessed occurs in the winter months when temperatures take a tumble, and the ground is covered in frost and ice. If it is cold outside, there is a risk of the condensate pipe freezing.

This pipe runs from the boiler to the outside of your home. If the duct freezes, this will cause the boiler to shut down completely due to safety reasons. The result: cold showers all-round. Fortunately for those keen to rectify the problem, there is a simple fix.

The key is to try and gradually warm up the affected pipe by placing a cloth over it or running warm water over the duct. This will help to melt the ice and, hopefully, bring your boiler back to life. It is important to note that you’ll need to restart the boiler if the pipe has frozen. 

3. Diverter valve failure

no hot water from boiler

Deep within the intricate workings of your boiler lies an essential cog known as the diverter valve. This component is the lollipop lady of the system, and it is responsible for directing the flow of water to reach the relevant appliances.

If there is a fault, and the diverter valve fails, this will result in a lack of hot water. The radiators won’t respond when you turn your heating on, and you won’t have any hot water to wash up or take a shower.

In most cases, this problem will require the expertise of an engineer. If the valve has failed, a new one will be installed, and you should have hot water again in no time.

If the boiler is old, and other problems are likely to cost you money in the foreseeable future, your engineer may advise you to consider replacing your boiler, rather than paying out for ongoing repairs.

Newer units are more powerful and they’re also much more efficient, which will save you money on your energy bills. 

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4. Under (or over) pressure

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If you take a moment to look at your boiler, you’ll notice a pressure gauge. The pressure should be in the green zone. If the boiler pressure is too high or too low, this can result in your combi boiler not producing hot water. If you don’t have any hot water, and you haven’t yet identified a cause, check the pressure.

If the gauge is in the red zone, either above or below the optimum level, you should be able to fix the problem by following the instructions in the boiler manual. If you need to increase the pressure, the handbook will tell you how to top your boiler up. You should notice the gauge move, and hopefully, once the pressure is right, you should have hot water again.

If the pressure is too high, the best place to start is bleeding your radiators. This should release pressure. If this doesn’t work, it may be possible that your boiler has a broken part, and you’ll need to consult an engineer.

Boiler leaks can also cause low pressure. If the problem is a leak, rather than a gradual loss of pressure, an engineer will be required. 

5. Faulty thermostats

no hot water from boiler

If you’ve got hot water, but it’s lukewarm rather than hot enough to enjoy a shower, or the water is only hot enough when the heating is also on, then it is worth checking that there is no problem with the thermistor. This is a small part, which is relatively cheap to replace by a Gas Safe engineer.

A note about thermostats:

Many people now use thermostats at home as a means of controlling the temperature and saving money on energy bills. It is worth noting that thermostats are linked to heating and radiators, rather than hot water. If you have a problem with your hot water supply, but your heating is working fine, the thermostat will usually be irrelevant. In some cases, however, the thermostat can also be used as a timer. If you use your thermostat as a timer as well, a thermostat fault might shut the boiler down completely, meaning you’ll be without both heating and hot water. 

Some boilers also have a thermostat dial, which enables you to adjust the temperature of your radiators and hot water. If you’re struggling to get hot water, check the settings and make sure you haven’t knocked the water dial onto the coolest temperature. 

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Hot water problems: an action plan

Nobody wants to be stuck without hot water for any length of time. If you haven’t got any hot water, here’s a plan of action to follow:

1. Check your utilities

Sometimes, when you have issues with your boiler, it’s not actually the boiler that is faulty or broken. The first thing to do if you encounter problems is to check the utilities and make sure that you’ve got electricity and gas supply.

If you’ve got a monitor on your boiler, for example, and there’s nothing on your digital screen, this may indicate that you’ve had a power cut. If this is the case, once the power supply is restored, your boiler should hopefully stage a Lazarus-style recovery, and you should be able to run a hot bath.

2. Look for error codes or fault codes

Many modern replacement boilers have displays or screens that indicate what has gone wrong. You might find symbols or specific lights illuminated, which you can decipher using the manufacturer’s manual. If you don’t have this to hand, Google is always a useful resource, and you should be able to find the information you’re looking for on the brand website. Once you know the cause of the lack of hot water, you can decide whether to attempt DIY repairs or to call an engineer. 

3. Inspect the controls

If you’ve carried out the steps above, and there’s still no joy, take a moment to inspect the controls on your boiler. Make sure you haven’t accidentally changed the settings to turn either the hot water or the heating off or adjust the temperature of the water to cold.

In some cases, a timer is used to control hot water, as well as heating. If you have a timer, and you haven’t got hot water, check the timer and ensure you haven’t knocked it or got your timings wrong. Adjusting the clock may solve the problem. 

4. Seek expert advice

boiler cover (service)

If you’ve explored all the common causes of a boiler not heating water, and you’ve been through the steps listed above, and you still don’t have a clue what has gone wrong, don’t hesitate to seek expert advice.

Gas Safe boiler engineers are trained to carry out rapid troubleshooting, and they use advanced technology and equipment to identify potential hurdles and find solutions. They will find out why your boiler is not working and usually work with the most common boilers and central heating manufacturers.

Will I need a new boiler?

no hot water from boiler

If you’ve reached the end of your tether and you’re convinced that there’s no chance of enjoying a hot shower, you might assume that you need to replace your boiler with taking advantage of such a luxury again.

While in some cases, a new boiler replacement may be the preferred option, in the vast majority of cases, there will be a much simpler and cheaper solution. Many problems can be fixed at home, and even if the issue seems more complex, engineers can often find a remedy. 

New boilers will usually only be recommended for clients who have old boilers, which are likely to need ongoing repairs that are both costly and inconvenient. If your boiler is more than 15 years old, and it’s prone to wobbles, it may be best to consider investing in a newer, more efficient and cost-effective model.

If you would benefit from a new boiler, your engineer will be able to go through the cost of both repairing your existing boiler and buying a new one. You then have all the information you need before you decide on the best port of call.

It’s worth bearing in mind that buying a new boiler may seem like an expensive option, but the best combi boilers can cut the cost of heating your home significantly. Check out our new boiler deals

If you’re having issues, and you’ve got no hot water from your boiler, don’t suffer and shiver in silence. Help is at hand! Our engineers are on the Gas Safe register and are experienced in all boilers. Whether the issue is a simple water pressure issue or worse, help is readily available.

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