If you’re noticing an unusual smell or discoloration in your water, it may be time to call for hot water heater repair. While DIY-able repairs are possible, constant problems usually indicate your water heater is nearing the end of its lifespan and should be replaced.

If you’re dealing with a gas water heater, turn off the circuit breaker in your service panel and remove the access panels, plastic safety guards, and insulation to expose each heating element. Read on to learn more.


There’s a lot that can go wrong with a water heater tank. It can rust out, and corrosion leads to leaks. A gas tank can even leak carbon monoxide, which is odorless, tasteless, and deadly in high concentrations. It’s also important to flush sediment to keep it from clogging the drain valve and prevent scalding.

A plumber should be able to tighten loose bolts, swap out corroded valves and identify problems with the thermostat or heating element. However, many water heaters require total replacement. Typically, these older units need to be replaced with a new, more efficient tankless system. A new unit will cost more to buy and install, but it’ll last twice as long and save energy. It will also eliminate the need for a water heater tank altogether.


Many homeowners take their water heaters for granted. When it stops working, they’re left with no hot water for showers and dishes. Laundry may pile up and stains may go unremoved.

If you’re having trouble with your hot water supply, you’ll need to have a professional plumber take a look at your unit. He or she will determine whether the problem is caused by a simple repair or needs to be replaced completely.

If your water heater is over seven years old, it’s likely time to get a replacement. This will help you save money in the long run. A leaking water heater, on the other hand, can lead to costly and irreversible damage. It’s best to call a Carter plumbing company as soon as possible.

Anode Rod

A steel core wire usually wrapped in aluminum, magnesium, or zinc, the anode rod sits submerged in the tank and attracts rust and contaminants to itself instead of the steel tank walls, protecting the tank. It needs to be replaced periodically. When the anode rod deteriorates, it will leave behind aluminum oxide that oozes out into your hot water and produces that rotten egg smell.

You can often avoid the smell and discoloration by draining the tank once a year. Before you do, be sure to turn off the gas valve on your water heater and either the electric circuit breaker for an electric tank or the propane gas control for a gas tank. Check the water heater manual to find out where and how to access the anode rod.

Dip Tube

Dip tubes bring cold water into the bottom of a hot water heater tank to prevent rusting and help the anode rod work efficiently. They are usually made of non-metallic materials that withstand corrosion and don’t interfere with the anode rod.

If your water temperature is not as warm as it should be or you find little white plastic pieces clogging your faucet aerators, shower heads, or washing machine nozzles your dip tube may be broken. To replace a dip tube shut off power to your water heater at the circuit breaker, then disconnect the cold water supply valve at the top of the tank and the pipe nipple connected to it.

Use a flat screwdriver to loosen and remove the old dip tube. Then slide in a new one. Choose a long, non-metallic, cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) type that fits tightly over the inlet port nipple and connector to avoid leaking or breaking.

Pressure Relief Valve

A pressure relief valve (PRV) is a valve that opens to reduce the amount of pressure in a system or vessel to avoid a catastrophic failure. It recloses once normal conditions are restored within predefined limits.

A PRV is a spring-loaded device designed to open proportionally to the load pressure combination and backpressure against it but does not have to reach its set pressure. It usually has a secondary control chamber or huddling chamber to enhance disc lift and a vented disk area equal to the exposed one to reduce back pressure against the valve seat.

If you notice a garlic-like smell or water that appears discolored, it could be indicative of a problem with your gas water heater. It may be time for a replacement. Click here for more interesting articles.