Common Water Heater Problems

common-water-heater-problems

One of the most convenient modern inventions, the water heater makes our lives better every day. However, as any homeowner or maintenance man knows, common water heater problems can throw the whole building into disarray until resolved.

With a few quick and easy troubleshooting tips, find out if you’re experiencing one of the most common water heater problems, and what you should do. Some of these problems can be repaired yourself, or with a quick call to a plumber, but others may require a full water heater replacement.

Hot water problems can ruin your whole day ...
Hot water problems can ruin your whole day …

No Hot Water

The number one complaint of most people is that their water heater isn’t working – or simply – that it’s not producing hot water. Second commonly, people complain that it’s not producing enough hot water.

If your water heater has suddenly stopped producing any hot water at all, the heat may have gone out of it. If it’s a gas water heater, it could be something as simple as re-lighting the pilot light. Which, as a homeowner or renter of a residence, you can probably do yourself – carefully – with a long-stem lighter like you would use to light a grill.

Electric Water Heater

If you have an electric water heater, there are two heating elements. If one of them is out, or comes loose from its connection, it stops producing heat. Check the manufacturer guidelines for your heating elements. Most designs let you to check each element separately, and even replace them individually if only one has gone out.

Circuit Problems

If your water heater isn’t getting any electrical power at all, the next step is to check the breaker. Do not attempt to check wiring around a water heater on your own – the mix of electricity and water can be very hazardous! But, try resetting the circuit breaker for the water heater to see if that resets the appliance.

Controlling the Temperature

If your water heater is producing hot water, but it’s not enough, check the temperature. On the side of most water heaters there is a temperature knob or setting where you can change the temperature so that you will have hotter water, which can make your hot water last longer.

Noisy When Running

Is your water heater running properly, but it rattles or makes popping sounds? It’s very common that, over time, sediment and residue builds up inside a water heater that can be alarming if it makes some noise. However, it’s pretty easy to address this common water heater problem.

About twice per year, drain your water heater and refill it. This allows sediment built up inside to flush completely. Some companies recommend refilling and draining the water heater with clean water to fully flush it.

Additionally, on many models, clean out the valves while the water heater tank is empty. This allows you not only to make sure that all residue is removed, and the value runs clear. Make sure it also seals tightly and prevents against leaks.

Leaky Water Heater

When you notice that your water heater is leaking is take caution. If you can cut off the power at the circuit breaker, it may be wise to do so, depending on how severe the leak is.

If your water heater overflow drain clogs or overflows, first make sure that the clog is removed. Clear the drain so your water heater can drain properly and make sure that it’s not actually leaking, but just an overflow.

If the water heater is leaking from a valve, you may be in luck. By simply shutting the valve, or draining the tank, you might be able to replace the damaged part and create a watertight seal.

Leaking From The Tank

If the water heater is leaking from a seal, consult the manufacturer or a local plumber. Sometimes, a defect in construction causes a leak, and warranties protect against this. Sometimes, the environment can cause the water heater to weaken at the seams. Either way, professional patching of a water heater tank should be assessed by a professional.

And this goes double if your water heater leaks from a hole in the tank. Whether from damage, corrosion, or another issue, secure the area and make it safe for a professional. A plumber can determine if you should patch or repair the leaking tank, or if it’s time to replace it and avoid future common water heater problems.