A water heater that produces no hot water is essentially a useless appliance. Dishes, showers, handwashing, and laundry must all be done with cold water or not at all. Thankfully, there are a few quick components and functions you can check when your hot water heater is on the fritz. Whether gas or electric, it shouldn't require a major investigation to discover the culprit. Once you isolate the problem, any replacement parts you'll need won't break the bank.
Gas Pilot (Gas Water Heater)
Check to make sure the pilot light is on and producing a steady flame. If the operation of the pilot is faulty, the necessary heat won't be generated to produce hot water.
Gas Thermocouple (Gas Water Heater)
This electronic device senses whether the pilot is hot enough to justify opening the gas valve for combustion. If this component is out of sync, it could also mean wasted gas.
Gas Pilot Control Valve (Gas Water Heater)
This component should be replaced if faulty or it will disrupt the even combustion of fuel.
Electric Thermostat (Electric Water Heater)
A component that regulates the temperature of the hot water. First, confirm that electrical power is flowing to the part and press the high-temp cutoff reset button. If faulty, replacement is the only option.
Upper Electric Heating Element (Electric Water Heater)
If the upper heating element is faulty, it won't create hot water even if the thermostat triggers its operation. If power is flowing, it must be replaced.