Troubleshooting Common Water Heater Issues

Troubleshooting Common Water Heater Issues

SC WaterHeaterRepairs Head - Troubleshooting Common Water Heater Issues

Water heaters are essential. Every homeowner needs one to function, and when the water heater isn’t working, a crop of other issues can spring up. While some water heater repairs require the assistance of a professional, many repairs are simple enough to take care of on your own. Continue reading as we share some of the most common water heater issues and what you can do about them.

Problem #1: No Hot Water

If you’ve ever noticed cold water pouring out of your hot water faucet, the first question you should ask yourself is whether your water heater is gas-powered or an electric. If the answer is a gas-powered water heater, a faulty pilot light is likely the culprit. When a pilot light is not functioning properly, there is a good chance that the thermocouple or pilot control valve is responsible.

However, if you have an electric water heater, the problem most likely stems from a broken heating element. Heating elements and thermocouples can be quickly replaced by a plumbing professional. Most homeowners do not have the specialized training needed to do this repair efficiently or correctly. We strongly advise calling in a professional.

Problem #2: Water Is Too Hot

On the other hand, you also may experience issues with your water being too hot. This can be just as frustrating, if not more so, than no hot water. Luckily, this can be a very simple fix.

Normally, if you find your water running too hot, simply reset your water heater’s thermostat settings. The US Department of Energy recommends an optimal thermostat setting of 120 degrees Fahrenheit to maintain a balanced temperature and energy efficiency.

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We recommend only adjusting the thermostat on gas powered water heaters. Attempting to do anything on an electric water heater has the potential to cause serious bodily harm.

For our homeowners with a gas powered water heater, the process is pretty simple. Start by locating the gas control valve and turn it up to produce hotter water. We mentioned this above, but any hot water should never go above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything hotter can leave serious burns.

Now, simply replace the safety guard, insulation, and access panel on both elements and turn on the heater’s circuit breaker.

Problem #3: Leaking or Pooling Water

When water is leaking from the water heater, there could be multiple causes. Most often, water heater leaks can be attributed to loose valves and plumbing connections.

First, we recommend troubleshooting by checking for any loose elements. Tighten anything that’s too loose with an element wrench. If you continue to notice leaky elements, it is likely that a gasket needs to be replaced. Keep in mind this is a repair that should be left to the professionals.

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Lastly, we recommend searching for any leaks along the storage tank itself. If you notice leaks from the tank, this may be a sure sign your water heater is on its last leg. In this case, call a local professional for more insight.

Problem #4: Rust-Colored or Foul-Smelling Water

Seeing any discolored water? Brown, yellow, or red-tinted water is caused by a buildup of corrosion within your water heater tank. This can be the result of a failing anode rod. You may also notice a “rotten egg” smell, which is caused by a buildup of bacteria within your water heater that has released hydrogen gas.

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In either case, we recommend calling on a plumbing professional who can assist you in determining if a replaced anode rod would resolve the issue. A new water heater may be necessary if the appliance is too far gone.

Problem #5: Noisy Water Tank

Is your water heater more noisy than usual? Loud, odd, or strange noises coming from your water heater tank result from a buildup of sediment. Light sediment buildup can easily be resolved by flushing the water heater.

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If you attempt to flush the water heater and notice that the problem persists, it’s possible that your water heater needs replacing. A professional should be consulted to either remove the heavier sediment buildup or assist in purchasing a new water heater altogether.

Call in the Professionals

Experiencing issues with your water heater? While some smaller repairs are a DIY job, bigger issues are best left to the professionals. Service Champions is here for all of your plumbing needs. Give us a call today!

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