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Fix Common Water Heater Issues

Fix Water Heater Issues

If you’re like most homeowners, you probably don’t think about your water heater until it’s not working properly. When you do have a hot water heater problem, it can be tough to know what to do! Gas models and electric water heaters can suffer a variety of common water heater issues, such as faulty heating elements, not enough hot water, a tripped circuit breaker, bas gas valve, and more.

In this post, Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling outlines some of the most common water heater problems and their corresponding troubleshooting solutions. So if your gas water heater or electric water heater is acting up, don’t fret – read on for tips on how to fix that water tank or tankless heater model yourself!

Cold Water

There are a few things that could be causing your water heater to dispense cold water. The most likely culprits are a lack of power, a faulty thermostat, or a faulty heating element.

To start troubleshooting, rule out power as a potential issue by resetting any tripped circuit breakers and replacing blown fuses. Then, check the power switches to ensure they’re turned on and the power indicators are lit. Finally, take a look at the thermostat to see if it’s receiving power.

If you have a gas water heater that isn’t producing hot water, check whether or not you have gas flow. If you don’t have gas flow, make sure the gas valve is open. When gas water heaters don’t generate heated water, the pilot light may be out. To relight the pilot light, follow the steps listed in the water heater’s owners’ manual.

If the pilot light is on but the water heater still isn’t producing hot water, then the problem may be with the thermocouple. The thermocouple is a sensor that tells the water heater whether or not the pilot light is lit. If it isn’t sensing that the pilot light is lit, then the gas water heater won’t ignite the gas. To fix this problem, you may need to clean or replace the thermocouple.

For gas water heaters that are tankless heater models, the most likely culprit is a switched-off gas valve. To check the gas valve, simply locate the valve and turn it to the on position. If the valve is already in the on position, the next step is to inspect the intake and exhaust vents. These vents should be clear all the way to the exterior of your home – if they’re not, it can cause problems with the heater. Look for things like bird or insect nests that might be blocking the vents, and also check for any damage to the vents themselves. Remove any obstructions and repair any damage you find.

If all of those things check out, then it’s likely that either the thermostat or heating element is faulty. To test the thermostat, use a multimeter to check for continuity at the terminals. If there is no continuity, then the thermostat will need to be replaced.

To reset the heating element, check the reset button located near it. Press the button to reset the element. For the heating element, you can use the multimeter to test for resistance. If there is no resistance, then the heating element will also need to be replaced.

Lukewarm Water

Not enough hot water can be frustrating, and it may even be a sign that your water heater needs to be repaired or replaced. However, there are a few other potential causes that are worth checking first. One possibility is that the hot and cold water lines have been crossed. This can usually be fixed by turning off the water supply and then turning on a hot water faucet. If the water still flows, then you likely have a crossed connection. Another possibility is that the heating element or thermostat is not working properly. In this case, you may need to call a professional to service your water heater. Finally, it is also possible that your water heater is simply too small for your needs. If this is the case, then you will need to upgrade to a larger model. No matter what the cause of your lack of hot water, there are solutions available.

Water Is Too Hot

Most water heaters come with a factory default thermostat setting of 140° Fahrenheit, but this is usually too hot for most households. Not only is it a waste of energy to heat the water to such a high temperature, but it can also be dangerous. Water that is too hot can scald skin, and over time, it can break down the pipes and fittings in your plumbing system. Fortunately, adjusting the thermostat is a simple fix. Most water heaters have a knob or lever near the bottom of the tank that can be turned to lower the temperature. To maximize comfort and energy efficiency, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends a setting of 120° Fahrenheit. If you’re not sure how to adjust the thermostat on your water heater, consult your owner’s manual for instructions.

Leak from the Top of the Water Tank

The first thing you’ll want to do is inspect the two pipes located on the top of your water heater – they’re called the cold water inlet pipe and warm water outlet pipe. The inlet pipe carries cold water into the water tank. The water is heated and then moves through the outlet pipe to your fixtures. In this case, you can simply tighten them with a wrench. However, if the leak is coming from a hole or crack in the pipe itself, you’ll need to replace the pipes.

Leak from the Side of the Water Tank

A pressure relief valve is a vital safety feature on a water heater. If the pressure in the tank gets too high, the valve will open and release water until the pressure returns to normal. This helps to prevent the tank from rupturing and causing serious damage or injury. If you notice water leaking from your pressure relief valve, the first thing you should do is check the water heater’s temperature setting. If it is set higher than 120 degrees, simply lower the temperature. This will often solve the problem. If the leak persists, however, you will need to replace the pressure relief valve.

Leak from the Bottom of the Water Tank

Tank water heaters have a drain valve located at the bottom of the tank. This valve is used when draining the water heater for maintenance. If you see leaks near the base of the tank, the first thing you should do is close the drain valve entirely. If a leak from this area continues, the valve may be loose. In this case, you can try tightening it slightly, but be careful not to overtighten as it may cause more leaking. If the leak continues after tightening the drain valve, the drain valve likely needs to be replaced.

If you notice water leaking around the base of your water heater tank, it could be due to corrosion. Over time, water can break down the materials of the tank, causing it to leak. Unfortunately, simply repairing the tank isn’t a possibility to stop the leaks. You will need to have a new water heater installed by a professional plumber.

Rust Colored Water

One of the most common causes of rust colored water from your water heater is corrosion of the anode rod. The anode rod is a metal rod that helps to protect the tank from corrosion. Over time, the anode rod will corrode and need to be replaced. If you notice rust in your hot water, it’s a good idea to check the anode rod and see if it needs to be replaced. Replacing the anode rod is a fairly easy process and can help your water heater last longer. However, if the tank itself is showing signs of corrosion, it’s likely that a leak will develop at some point. If there is corrosion on the tank, it’s time to replace your water heater.

Smelly Water

If you’ve ever turned on the hot water in your sink only to be greeted by a foul smell, then you know how unpleasant it can be. The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take to get rid of the stink. In most cases, smelly hot water is due to bacteria growing in the water heater tank. Water smells are more common in homes that use well water, since there can be more sulfur in the water.

One quick fix is to increase the water temperature, as this will kill the bacteria. You should also periodically flush your water heater to remove any sediment that has built up, which can contribute to water smells. However, if the smell does not go away, you may need to replace the anode rod. This is a relatively easy process, and it can make a big difference in the quality of your hot water.

Low Water Pressure

Over time, mineral buildup can lead to clogs that reduce water pressure and make it difficult to get a hot shower. To prevent these problems, it is important to flush your water heater and pipes on a regular basis. This will remove any sediment and mineral deposits that have accumulated, restoring your low water pressure to normal. In addition, flushing your system regularly will help to extend its lifespan.

Tankless water heaters should be flushed every six months, while tank models should be flushed at least once a year. If you have not been regularly flushing your water heater, it is important to check with a professional plumber before proceeding. Otherwise, you may end up damaging the appliance beyond repair. Luckily, with a little diligence, you can keep your water heater running smoothly for years to come.

Water Heater Repair in Louisville

Water heater problems can be frustrating and costly, especially if you let them linger for too long. If you are experiencing any of the common water heater issues we’ve outlined in this post, don’t wait to call for repair services. Waiting too long could result in more damage and a higher price tag for repairs. Our team is here to help, so give us a call today!

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