You might not appreciate how great a hot shower can be until you have to go without one, and easiest way to start your day off on the wrong foot is to have your warm morning shower interrupted by a sudden chilly change in temperature due to an unexplained issue with your water heater.
While not all water heater problems result in a complete lack of hot water, many of them are an indication that your water heater is headed towards a complete breakdown. Your water heater is one of the most expensive elements of your home plumbing system, so it’s important to get regular maintenance to keep it functioning for as long as possible.
Here are 6 common problems that can arise with your water heater:
1. Not Enough Hot Water
If your hot water seems to be running out faster than usual, it could be a sign of a faulty thermostat, loose wiring, or a leaky dip tube. Check the thermostat settings first. If you do turn the temperature up, be sure to do so in small increments. A little bit can go a long way and no one wants to be burned by scalding water. If that doesn’t seem to be the problem, contact a professional water heater technician.
2. No Hot Water
The most common reasons water heaters fail is due to blown circuits and unlit pilot lights. Check your circuit breaker first and make sure that your water heater is being powered. If that’s not the issue, the next step is to check and, if necessary, relight the pilot light. If that still doesn’t work, it is likely that a part needs to be replaced.
3. Unusual Noises
A noisy water heater is often caused by a build-up of dirt on the heating elements. The tank will need to be drained and cleaned. Have an HVAC technician service your system and see if that solves the problem.
4. Water is Too Hot
Excessively hot water is almost always caused by an issue with the thermostat. It may be set incorrectly, faulty, or improperly seated.
5. Bad Odors
If you don’t regularly flush your tank with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water, a buildup of bacteria can cause the tank or the water itself to produce foul odors like that of rotten eggs. Contact a water heater expert for more information on how to safely flush out old, dirty water lingering in your tank.
6. Leaking Water Tank
A leaking water tank surly means it is in need of service. It could be simply due to old age and you may need a tank replacement, or it could just mean that a specific part needs to be fixed. Either way, time is of the essence since no one wants any, let alone gallons of water leaking from their water heater.
Original article posted on February 18, 2015 was revised on March 11, 2019. The article was written by the plumbing team at Heaney Plumbing.