Quick Guide to Troubleshoot Hot Water Heater Problems

This article is a quick guide on how to troubleshoot your home’s hot water heater problems. The things to be discussed here are some of the most common issues regarding hot water heaters that you can easily fix on your own.

When you think that the malfunction is severe enough, do not hesitate to call for professional help for water heater problems.

First of all lets take a look at the most common types of Water Heaters

Before moving on to the actual tips on troubleshooting, you must first know the types of water heaters available right now. This is because there are specific tank and tankless water heater problems, as well as gas and electric hot water heater problems. Below you can see how to spot the differences from gas or electric water heaters. If you need information on hot water heater leak we have an article covering this in detail.

Gas type  utilize fuel (gas) to make the water hot. On the other hand, electric types use electric coils to heat water. Gas types are less efficient but they are generally also cheaper to operate than electric water heaters because of electricity costs. Gas water heaters can also heat water quicker than electric types.

However, electric types are said to be safer and less prone to damages. But if a gas type is properly installed and well-maintained, then it would also be not that vulnerable to breakdowns.

Quick Guide to Troubleshoot Hot Water Heater Problems

Quick Guide to Troubleshoot Hot Water Heater Problems

How Dose a Water Heater Work?

Thankless Water Heater

Thankless Water Heater

Tank types are more traditional than tankless ones. The common tank types can store and heat up to 30-50 gallons of water. When you use some of it, the tank will automatically refill itself and reheat the water again for the next use. Meanwhile, tankless water heater types are directly connected to a water source and harnesses a heating device to warm up the water from it on demand.

When it comes to safety, both have equal risks. However, tank types can be susceptible to more repairs because it has more components. Meanwhile, tankless types are not that prone to damages, but are extremely difficult to fix when that time comes. Tankless types would usually require the skill of a professional repairman if broken. We look into both electric water heater troubleshooting and gas water heater troubleshooting as both are very similar in resolving your problems.

Common water heater not working Problems and How to Troubleshoot Them

Below we take a look at some of the most common hot water heater not working issues and some simple water heater troubleshooting tips with easy to follow photos and guides they also apply for electric water heater not working.

#1: Water does not become hot

There are many reasons why the water heater not heating water. First, check if your water heater is turned on. So many home owners mistake their heaters to be broken only to find out that the switch is off or a circuit breaker is down. This is especially true with electric types. For gas types, check if the pilot light is working. This is actually a safety precaution for gas water heaters as when the pilot light is off, the machine will not allow any gas to be released to heat up the water. If a circuit breaker or the pilot light is broken, simply replace them to get back your precious hot water.

#2: Water is too hot and can’t be regulated

Hot water heater thermostat problems can be the main cause in this situation, check first if the thermostat is set too high. Sometimes, people tend to overlook the thermostat setting of their water heater as time goes by. Otherwise, if the thermostat is set properly, then it may already be defective. When checking it, make sure that the heater is turned off first and it is completely drained (for tank types) to avoid burns. Check whether the tubes are loose and put it back firmly in place. If the water produced is still too hot, then it may be time for you to replace the thermostat.

#3: Leaking water heater

This is another common issue of water heaters and is mostly linked to inadequate regulation of the temperature and pressure inside the tank. Corrosion can also cause the water tank to leak you can read up on this here. Again, turn it off and drain before checking. Sometimes, a simple tightening of joints would do the trick, while there are also times that the leak is only caused by condensation so you just simply wipe it away.

However, a major problem is when the tank itself is pierced or broken. In this situation, calling a professional service provider is the best option.

#4: Hot water is not enough or quickly gone

Hot water heater problems like this are also caused by a defective thermostat. Refer to item #2 on how to check your thermostat. However, there are times when the water heater is just too dirty to be efficient in heating up water. If this is the case, then you should conduct a general cleaning of your device. Do not forget the safety precautions before flushing and cleaning your tank.

#5: Water looks dirty

This is more common on electric water heaters that have a “sacrificial” rod or anode that helps avert the buildup of rust inside the tank. This anode is the one that is being dissolved by the elements, and when it disintegrates, some of its molecules can be seen in the water output.

Rust-colored water is also a sign that you need to replace this rod or anode. Replacing this anode is not that easy, though. It needs persistence and a lot of effort, but it can be done on your own.

#6: Water smells dirty

The highly probable reason for this issue is bacterial or fungal buildup inside the tank itself. And the number one solution for this is to conduct a general cleanup of your water heater tank.

As mentioned in item #4, all safety precautions should be followed before cleaning your tank. Make sure that it is disconnected from the power source (if electric) or the fuel source (if gas) before working on it. Drain and flush out the tank completely before washing. Use a low percentage hydrogen peroxide solution to completely kill all bacteria and fungi in the tank.

#7: There are inappropriate noises

High-pitched sounds are often caused by a buildup of residues inside the tank. When the tank is filled with sediments, the water tends to boil and not just be heated. This situation again calls for a general tank cleaning (refer to items #4 and #6) to stop any hot water tank problems.

Meanwhile, a trembling or roaring sound may indicate a defect on the pressure relief valve. This one is quite dangerous so it must be fixed as soon as possible.

If you are not that confident to do this, then calling professional help is a great idea.

Conclusion on water heater problems

The common hot water heater problems are indeed not that complicated and difficult to repair. As long as you always keep in mind the tips mentioned above, practice safety at all times, and stay focused and attentive to what you are doing all the time, then you can fix any minor problems with your water heater with ease.

video credit: electronicsNmore

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