If you are having a water heater problem, it could be one of many different things. Troubleshooting your hot water heater is not always fun, but by reading the below information, you will be able to cure your not so hot water problem.
Step 1 - Pilot Light
One of easiest problems to solve in regards to your water heater is having to relight the pilot light.
In order to see if your pilot light needs to be re-lit, simply go to your water heater and look for the flame that emits from the pilot light. If there is no flame, it needs to be re-lit.
Step 2 - Breaker
If the pilot light seems to be lit, you will want to check to make sure your breaker hasn't tripped. If the breaker seems fine, then try pushing the reset button on your thermostat.
Step 3 - Set Temperature
Another simple thing to do in checking your hot water heater is to check and see what the water heater thermostat is set at. Maybe the temperature has been set differently, or it simply isn't hot enough for you anymore. If the temperature is set lower than you want it to be, or think it should be, simply set the thermostat higher.
Step 3 - Water Temperature
If the thermostat is set at a reasonable temperature, the problem could be you need to replace your water heater thermostat. To check this out, all you need is some tap water and a thermometer. Run tap water onto a thermometer, and check the temperature. If the water is within five degrees of what your thermostat is set at, that is not the problem. However, if it is much farther than five degrees off, it looks like it may be time to replace that thermostat.
Step 4 - Sediment Build Up
Now that you have covered the possible basic problems, it's time to move on to bigger things. The problem could be your heater has some sediment build up. In this case, you will need to drain your tank fully and flush it out with clean water.
Step 5 - If Your Water Smells
If there is a problem with your water smelling something like sulfur, then it probably has some bacteria built up that is creating a foul smell, which is transferring into your drains where your water flows out of. Applying a little chlorine to your water heater should clear up the bacteria in no time.
Now that you have discovered and corrected the problem at hand, remember that not using a ton of appliances that require hot water at the same time will ensure you have hot water for everything you want it for. Starting up the dishwasher and putting in a load of laundry before you hop in the shower is not a good idea if you want hot water to do any of those things.