No Hot Water in Apartment – Causes and How to Fix

It’s in the middle of winter, and you went to the shower, but to your dismay, there’s no hot water! What will you do? In this article, I’ll discuss the topic of no hot water in apartments – causes and how to fix it.

You don’t have hot water in your apartment because the circuit breaker has tripped or misaligned. Resetting the breaker will fix your problem. You can do this by switching off the breaker and turning it on again. If it trips again, you need to call an electrician.

There are other reasons for this problem. If there’s no problem with the water flow and there’s enough water pressure in your faucets, but the water is cold, the problem lies in your water heater or in the valve that mixes cold and water before it comes out of the faucet.

Read on to learn more about why there’s no hot water in your apartment and the fixes you can apply.

No Hot Water in Apartment

no hot water in apartment

Tripped or Misaligned Circuit Breaker

One of the usual reasons why there’s no hot water in your apartment may not be connected to your water heater. Perhaps the circuit breaker of the water heater just tripped or is misaligned. You can quickly fix this issue by resetting the circuit breaker.

Switch the Circuit Breaker Off and Turn It On Again

Just switch it off and turn it on again. If hot water does not come on still, you need to call an electrician. There’s an underlying problem that they need to find out. The electrician is the only person that can help you fix this problem.

Water Heater or Mixing Valves Issue

If there’s good water flow in your pipes and there’s enough water pressure in your faucets, but the water is still cold, most likely it is a water heater problem. It could also be a problem in mixing valves where they could not mix cold with hot water.

Call the Landlord

If you are renting, you have to call your landlord. It is their responsibility to fix whatever issues in your apartment. That includes all water plumbing and fixtures.

Your landlord should fix your problem within a reasonable time. This is prescribed under the no hot water in apartment laws. The fix should be within the day because hot water during winter is a necessary item.

If you have called your landlord several times within a week and they still don’t respond, you can take legal action to have your problem fixed.

There are exceptions to this rule, though. For example, you were responsible for your pipes or water heater damage. Then, it just makes sense that you should be the one that has to shoulder the expenses of fixing the problem.

But let’s go back to our topic: the causes and fixes if there’s no hot water in your apartment.

Causes of the No Hot Water in Apartment Issue

1. Tripped or Misaligned Circuit Breaker

Reset the Circuit Breaker

This is the most common reason why there’s no hot water in your apartment. The water heater’s circuit breaker might have tripped or misaligned. Simply resetting the circuit breaker will fix the problem.

Call an Electrician

Just turn off the breaker and then switch it back again. However, if the breaker keeps on tripping, there’s a reason. You need to call an electrician.

They will be the right person who can find out why your water heater circuit breakers always trip. Whatever is causing the problem, they will be able to fix it.

2. Buildup of Sediments

Raw water carries with it sediments. As water flows through the pipes, it also picks up particles, especially corroded steel pipes. Over time, there will be a sediment buildup in certain sections of the plumbing system. The water heater can be a depository of these sediments.

When that happens, it won’t be able to function efficiently. That’s one of the reasons why you don’t have hot water when you open your hot water faucet.

3. Old and Malfunctioning Water Heater

Water heaters are subjected to high heat and strong water pressure. This stressful combination takes a toll on the structure and the heating system of the water heater. In due time, the water heater will get old and die.

Old Heating Elements and Holding Structure

Heating elements and holding structure are rundown that they can no longer provide the heating efficiency they used to give during their stronger days.

Can Last for About Ten Years

On average, water heaters only last for about ten years. If the water heater in your apartment is past these years, you need to replace it immediately.

4. No Gas

Water heaters come as electric-powered or gas-powered. If you are using a water heater powered by natural gas, check the gas supply if you have no hot water. Perhaps your gas supply has been cut off because of unpaid bills, or there is a leak somewhere in the gas pipe.

A gas leak is dangerous, so your gas supply is likely not cut off if your bills are updated. It is probably a gas leak that is causing your problem. Call your gas supplier at once to check and fix your gas pipeline.

5. Bad Thermostat

A malfunctioning thermostat will also prevent you from getting hot water into your apartment. The thermostat is the device that sets and controls the hot water temperature in your water heater.

If it cannot do its work, naturally, you will get only water at the temperature it enters your unit. It won’t be able to raise the temperature of water enough to make it hot.

What to Do If There’s No Hot Water in Your Apartment

no hot water in apartment building

As an owner or as a tenant of an apartment, there are several things you can do if there’s no hot water in your unit:

1. Inspect the Water Heater

If you are not getting hot water in your faucets and the shower, the very first thing you need to do is to inspect the water heater. Perhaps, when you turned it off last night, you forgot to turn it on the following day when you woke up.

It could also be that there is no water flowing inside the water heater. Check all of these things before blaming the water heater. If there’s a water supply, and the water heater is just turned off, turn it on, and you will have all the hot water you need.

2. Run the Water Heater for 5 Minutes

Now, you need to check if the water heater is functioning. Run it for at least 5 minutes. Then check if the water temperature running out of the hot water faucet is getting hot.

But before you do that, set the thermostat temperature first before opening the faucet. By doing this, you will avoid getting scalded by very hot water.

3. Call Your Landlord

Call your landlord if you still can’t get hot water from your faucets after doing all these. You must record your calls, noting your call’s time, day, and date. Or, if your apartment building has a management office, you can call them directly.

The staff of the office can contact the landlord to relay your problem. They should respond to your request immediately. However, if you already own the apartment, you have to do the fixing yourself along with its corresponding expenses.

4. Wait for Your Landlord’s Response

Your Landlord Has 24 Hours to Fix the Issue

Under the no hot water in apartment laws, your landlord is given 24 hours to fix your problem after receiving your report. They can either have your water heater repaired or replaced. Since they own your apartment, it’s their responsibility to fix anything wrong in it.

Write a Formal Request

If your landlord does not respond within 24 hours of your report, that’s the time you can write a formal request. Have the landlord sign their name acknowledging that they have received your request.

Your Landlord Should Fix Your Problem Within a Week

Under the law, your landlord is given one week to fix your problem. So, you need to adjust your hot water needs during this period. But when they refuse to fix the problem, you can take legal action against them.

Record All Your Communications with the Landlord

Record all your communications with your landlord starting from the day and hour that you didn’t have any hot water in your apartment. You have to show the court that you have done all you can to inform your landlord about your problem.

Again, what do you do when you have no hot water in the apartment? Resolve the issue with your landlord since it is their responsibility to provide hot water with a minimum temperature of 120°F all year round. If your landlord, managing agent, or superintendent failed to resolve the issue, you could report the problem.

5. Know Your Rights

If you rent an apartment, it is always wise to know your rights as a tenant. You never know when a situation will arise that can lead to conflict with your landlord.

The point is: that you should know that your landlord is legally obligated to keep you safe, healthy, comfortable, and secure in the apartment that you are renting from them.

So, you don’t have to hesitate to take legal action against them if they don’t want to fulfill their side of the bargain. With that said, it is still your responsibility as the water heater user to use it responsibly and carefully so that it won’t get damaged and will continually function efficiently.

How to Avoid No Hot Water Problem

If you don’t want to experience this problem of not having hot water in your apartment, there are some things that your landlord and you must do:

1. Ensure the Proper Installation of the Water Heater

The water heater should be installed two feet away from other appliances in your apartment. You must see that the apartment you are renting has satisfied this condition.

2. Regular Water Heater Maintenance

This is the job of your landlord. They should schedule regular preventive maintenance of all the water heating system components in your apartment. You should see that your landlord is conscientiously doing their part in this regard.

Your safety and comfort are at stake, so keep your landlord on their toes. The water heater should be free of sediments and free of corrosion. Regularly check the safety and functionality of the following:

  • Thermostat,
  • Heating elements, and
  • Supply and delivery pipes.

3. Check for Leaks

Before turning the water heater on, check for leaks. You must do this every time you turn on this equipment. Leaks waste energy and make the heating time longer.

They waste money and compromise your safety. If you can no longer repair the leaks, request a new water heater from your landlord.

4. Set the Water Heater to 120°C

You should set the water heater to 120°C. This will save energy and help prevent accidental scalding because of the very hot water temperature. You can even set the thermostat lower, at 100°C, the boiling point of water.

5. Switch Off the Water Heater

If you are going on a long vacation, you should switch off your water heater. A running water heater with no one minding it is a potential cause of an accident.

6. Check the Release Valve Once a Year

Your landlord, or their maintenance staff, should check the release valve of your water heater at least once a year. A bad release valve can damage the water heater. It can even cause an explosion.

7. Use the Water Heater Responsibly

Your part is to use the water heater responsibly and carefully. Don’t try to overstress it by requiring it to produce so much hot water most of the time. Give it a regular inspection to see small problems before they grow big.

Frequently Asked Questions

no hot water in apartment for a week

No hot water in apartments is a topic that causes renters to be apprehensive. Perhaps, reading the answers to the most often asked questions about this topic will help calm your mind:

Why Is There No Hot Water In My Apartment?

There are many reasons you cannot get hot water in your apartment. But the most common cause is not connected to your water heater. It could just be that the circuit breaker has accidentally tripped, or it is misaligned.

You can fix this problem right away if you go to the circuit breaker, turn it off, and turn it on again. However, if the circuit breaker keeps on tripping, you need to call an electrician – if you own the apartment.

If you are renting, you have to call the landlord, so they can send an electrician to fix the problem.

What Are the Other Causes of This Problem?

The other reasons why you are not getting hot water in your faucet are the following:

  • Sediment build up inside the water heater
  • The water heater is already old
  • There is no gas
  • Bad thermostat

Why Do I Get Cold Water Only and Not Hot Water?

Water flows in your piping system if you get cold water but no hot water. In other words, there is nothing that blocks water from flowing. The problem is most likely with the water heater. It is not working enough to give you hot water.

In Closing: Reasons Why There’s No Hot Water in Apartment

If there’s no hot water in your apartment, the circuit breaker could be a problem. One common reason for this problem is that the circuit breaker has tripped or is misaligned. You can fix this problem by resetting the breaker. Just switch off the breaker and then turn it on again.

If the circuit breaker trips again, you have to call an electrician to examine the real cause of the problem and fix it finally.