Help! No Hot Water in My Apartment + How to Fix

Uh oh! If the hot water is suddenly out in your apartment you may have to take matters into your own hands. You may just need a quick and easy fix, or it could be a larger issue that you need to involve your landlord in – rest assured we will do our best to help you out fast.

Below are our tips, as landlords, that will help you get the hot water back in your apartment. The first step is finding out if your apartment has an individual water heater, a shared water heater, or a large commercial setup.

If your apartment does not have an individual water heater, you need to contact your landlord/property management company ASAP! If you have been without hot water for any time that’s uncomfortable, you need to contact your landlord now. Some of the below steps can still help you though while you wait.

apartment water heater in basement

No hot water coming from my apartment’s water heater [Quick fixes]

If you have your own dedicated water heating tank that you have access to, we have some steps you can take.

1. Check for a tripped breaker (Electric heater)

If you have an electric water heater, first check the electrical panel/breaker box. If your breaker that is labeled “water heater” or something similar, is off, just flip it back on and wait an hour or so.

2. Check the temperature gauge

Every water heater has a dial on it where the temperature is set. Check to see if this is on a low setting and adjust it as needed. Please adjust this slowly, because this is adjusting your hot water temperature and the water can burn you if turned up too high. Sometimes having no hot water in apartment just means the temperature gauge is too low.

3. Check for leaks

Since you are in an apartment, it shouldn’t take long to check all around for any leaks, especially under or near the water heater itself. If you discover a big leak with active water shooting out, you’ll want to shut off your main water valve if you can, and notify your landlord because that can affect other unit’s water supply.

If you can smell gas, then you may have a gas leak and need to contact your landlord immediately.

If you are handy and want to dive a bit deeper, check out the below video for more technical solutions.

4. Check if the pilot light went out

If you have a gas water heater, there’s a chance that the pilot light could have gone out, in which case it just needs to be relit. We do not suggest doing this unless you have experience AND have permission or instruction from your landlord to do so. Sometimes

How to relight the pilot light on your apartment’s gas water heater

The below tips are provided courtesy of HomeServe. We suggest that you follow the instructions located on your apartment’s actual water heater. The below instructions are generic.

  1. Remove the access cover and turn the gas control valve to the “off” position. Wait about 10 minutes for any accumulated gas to dissipate.
  2. Turn the control and water temperature knobs to the “pilot” position.
  3. Depress the control knob. While keeping it depressed, use a wand lighter or long match to reignite the pilot light. Once the pilot light is lit, you should see a steady flame. Continue to hold the knob down for a full minute to bleed accumulated air from the line. Release the knob.
  4. Using the control knob, set your water heater back to the desired temperature.
  5. Replace the access cover.
water heater pilot lighting instructions

How long does my landlord have to fix the hot water?

This can be location specific- when we were landlords in Chicago the rule was basically as soon as possible. In some locations landlords have 24 hours to provide certain basic amenities including hot water.

Any good landlord knows how important hot water is for their tenants and we feel they should treat it like an emergency and try to fix the issue as soon as possible.

Before you do that you should do your own research based on your location and the applicable landlord/tenant laws in place.

What if my landlord won’t fix my hot water?

This will likely be specific to where you live so do a quick location based Google search. For Rachel and I in Chicago, we had about 24 hours to fix the hot water before the tenant could take action. Taking action in this case meant that tenants could take the steps they need to to procure hot water which sounds like possible hotel room stays and more. Granted Chicago is a very tenant friendly city so your local rules may be different.

How long does it take for hot water to come back in an apartment?

It can take a gas water heater roughly 60-70 minutes to heat water. If you have an electric water heater it can take up to 2 hours to get hot water once it is reset.

My apartment’s hot water is too hot

If the hot water in your apartment is TOO hot then you should contact your landlord. Thankfully this is a super easy fix, so they may just try to explain how to quickly fix it over the phone.

When water is too hot, all you need to do is find your water heater, locate the temperature dial, and turn it lower. The temperature dial on a water heater should have a “normal” range that you can make sure the arrow is pointing to. The tenant before you may have turned it up and it just needs to be moved back to the normal range or lower.

apartment water heater temperature adjuster

We hope our hot water tips have helped you solve whatever apartment hot water issues you may be having. Stay safe and stay comfortable!

About Chad & Rachel

Rachel and Chad have over 17 years of experience as both renters and landlords. They were tenants in 7 different apartments before becoming landlords of 9 apartments in Chicago. Renting apartments from landlords and being landlords themselves have helped them gain the knowledge that they want to share with renters. Whether you are at the beginning of your rental journey or in the middle of your lease and dealing with complex apartment issues, we are happy to help where we can. Read more about Rachel and Chad, or send a message using this contact form.

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