A water heater is an appliance used to heat cold water so sinks, dishwashers, showers, and clothes washers can dispense warm or hot water. Water heater repair is often necessary as a result of age, wear, and tear, or other factors.
A few common water heater problems include leaking, pilot light problems, and low water pressure. These problems can be a sign that the water heater is nearing the end of its lifespan and needs to be replaced. Read this first!
When water seeps from your water heater, it’s a sure sign that something is wrong. While large leaks can quickly lead to flooding and expensive damage, you can often stop small leaks with a few easy steps.
The first step is to turn off the power to your unit by flipping the switch on your gas meter or switching the breaker to the “Off” position. Then, you can start to troubleshoot the issue.
Leaks from the top of your unit could be a result of loose or corroded pipe fittings. Look at the cold water inlet and warm water outlet pipes to determine if their connection or fitting is loose. This is an easy fix and can be done with a simple pipe wrench.
Water leaking from the side of your tank is most likely due to the Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve (T&P). This safety mechanism allows for water to discharge if your tank builds up excessive pressure. To fix this, check to make sure your temperature isn’t set too high and that the valve isn’t faulty.
A water heater pilot light that won’t stay lit is the most obvious sign there’s a problem with your system. This little flame is what ignites the gas that allows your water to be heated.
There are several reasons why your water heater’s pilot light might be failing to stay lit. One common cause is dust or debris clogging the pilot gas tube. Over time, this can prevent the flow of gas and keep the pilot light from staying lit.
The pilot tube also could be the wrong size for your unit. It’s important to make sure the burner orifice is the right size for your specific model of water heater to avoid problems like this.
Your water heater’s thermocouple can also get dirty over time and stop it from functioning correctly. Depending on your unit, you may be able to unclog the thermocouple by shutting off the gas and removing it from the water heater.
If your water is too hot, it can cause damage to your pipes and appliances. This is a sign of a physical restriction in the pipes, such as too small a diameter or a buildup of minerals, which can be fixed by having the pipes replaced.
A faulty thermostat may also be to blame for inconsistent heating. If you have trouble getting the temperature to stay consistent, call in a plumber to replace the thermostat.
Inconsistent heating can be caused by a lack of power, a faulty thermostat or a failed heating element. If you suspect a lack of power, check the circuit breaker and fuse to make sure they’re fully on. You can also check the high-temperature cutoff switch, which is located in an access panel down by the viewing door and usually has a button that you can push to reset it (watch Dan Jiles’ video below for instructions). You can test it with a noncontact voltage tester.
Sometimes a water heater can start acting up and you will notice that it takes longer for the hot water to heat or you are running out of hot water faster than usual. This may be a sign that sediment has built up inside the tank, which can block the heating element from properly heating the water. This can also cause the temperature of your hot water to fluctuate and can even lead to rust within the steel tank.
Another reason you might be seeing a sluggish performance from your water heater is that it is overworking itself, which can lead to higher energy bills. A plumber can drain your tank to help resolve this issue.
Frequent repair issues can be a sign that your water heater is nearing the end of its life expectancy and that it would be more cost-effective to replace it rather than continue making repairs. Discover more interesting articles.