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Six Common Problems with Your Home Water Heater

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Your water heater is one of the most invaluable appliances in your home. While it may not be visible to the eye at all times or at the front of your mind each and every day, the truth is you depend on the hot water it provides you just about every single day. And that means even small problems can cause a pretty big disruption. When you depend on hot water for everything from cooking to cleaning to bathing and even for use with other appliances, a water heater issue can more or less bring your life at home to a screeching and frustrating halt.

That means it’s important to understand a few of the most prominent and common reasons why your water heater may stop working. The more you know about these water heater issues, the more capable you’ll become with correctly diagnosing them and then taking the appropriate actions yourself. Here are a few of the most common water heater issues you may face, what causes them, and what you should do to get them fixed so you can get your hot water back.

Water Leaks

Water leaks are perhaps the most common type of water heater issue you’ll face. Any water heater will start to leak eventually, as by nature water will eventually corrode your tank and create microscopic cracks or fractures. However, this isn’t always a sign that your tank is what’s leaking. If the leak appears to be coming from the top of your tank, this could be a sign that your water connections are loose. Check to make sure your cold water inlet pipes and hot water out pipes are both solidly connected and not rattling or loose in some form. If the leak appears to be coming from the bottom, you could have an issue with condensation, which can be solved by turning up the thermostat. You could also have water spilling out from your overflow pipe or pressure relief valve. However, this could also be a sign of tank corrosion, which means you need to replace your water heater as soon as possible.

No Hot Water

Is your tank full of water but none of it seems to be hot? This could be an issue with your heat source. For electric water heaters, this means your heating elements could have failed or their electrical connection could have been impacted. For gas water heaters, this could be a bad pilot light or faulty gas connection. If your pilot light is lit but the gas doesn’t ignite, then you could have an issue with your burner as a whole which needs repaired. If your heater is newer and has an electronic ignition system, check your breaker box to see if the circuit your water heater is on has tripped. If so, reset it and you should have no problem getting your water heater to ignite again.

Strange Smelling Hot Water

If you notice a strange smell when you turn on your hot water, then there’s a chance your tank may have a buildup of bacteria. Crank up the temperature to about 140 degrees Fahrenheit and any bacteria in the tank should die off due to the heat. However, make sure you don’t use your hot water while running this service, as water that hot could cause serious burn injuries if your bare skin is exposed to it. Turn the temperature up, wait about an hour or so, and then turn it back down and wait several hours for the temperature to drop again before running any hot water.

If the problem persists then you may need to have your tank cleaned with a chlorine bleach solution.

Tank Takes Ages to Reheat

If it feels like your water heater takes way too long to reheat, then you could have one of a number of other problems. Your thermostat may be set too low, which means your burner isn’t outputting enough energy to heat your water quickly enough. You could also have a problem with your gas connection, such as poor gas pressure, a dirty vent flue, or a dirty burner orifice which prevents proper gas flow. Cleaning these parts could solve your problem.

However, in many cases a water heater taking too long to reheat is simply a problem of a water heater not having enough capacity to service a home. It empties itself out and then never gets a proper chance to fully refill and reheat before being called upon again, leading to lukewarm water flowing through the lines. This makes it seem like your water heater never heats up again, when in fact it just hasn’t had enough time.

Low Hot Water Pressure

For older homes, the biggest limiter to water pressure is the smaller, ½” plumbing that was the building standard for decades. Modern homes use larger ¾” plumbing capable of handing greater water throughput, but the only way to solve this issue in an older home is with a full repipe. And that’s no small task.

However, if you do have modern plumbing in your home, you may be able to increase your water pressure by ensuring that your aerators in your sink haven’t become clogged (which they do over time). Also, check your water inlet valve to make sure it hasn’t accidentally become partially closed.

Water Too Hot or Too Cold

Do you have inconsistent water temperatures in your heater? Does the water get too hot or not hot enough no matter how you adjust your thermostat? This is a sign that your thermostat is having problems. You may need to have your thermocouple replaced or cleaned in order to get it sensing temperatures properly again. However, water that’s too cold may be an indicator of a gas flow issue. If your gas flow is limited or not sufficient for your needs, then your burner won’t be able to adequately heat the water in your tank.

Got a water heater problem? Get it fixed by the experts at Moe Plumbing! Schedule an inspection or repair service by calling us at (818) 396-8002 today.

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