What is the most common problem with water heaters?
If you’re like most people, when your water heater quits working, you replace it. You don’t think about water heater repair being a possibility, probably because they are a mystery. We aren’t sure what’s going on inside that tank that produces the hot water for our morning shower, but we do know without it, that shower is cold!
Today, we’re going to answer some common hot water heater repair questions, or should it be replaced, and hopefully give you a little more knowledge about this big tank.
The water heater in your home is working hard to provide your family hot water when you need and want it. Just like you, the water heater gets tired and because it doesn’t get any paid time off, it will begin to weaken and start having problems. For of the most common problems for water heater are as follows, along with tips on doing your own water heater repair. Before you start any troubleshooting and repairs, turn the circuit breaker off first:
- Water temperature – The water temperature is a common issue households have with their water heater. There are three things that can be the problem:
- Cold Water – Check the circuit breaker and make sure it is in the on position or replace any fuses. Make sure the water heater power switch is in the on position. Then as a last resort, make there the water heater is getting power.
- Insufficient Warm Water – If the water is only getting warm, the water heater you have may not be large enough for your household. First check the cold and hot water connections to make sure they are turned on and not switched by turning the water supply off. Then turn the hot water faucet on, and if water is flowing out but cold or warm, then your connections are reversed. If that isn’t proving to be the problem, then call your plumber for water heater repair service.
- Too Hot Water – If the water is getting too hot, you can lower the thermostat a few degrees. The recommend temperature is 120° F for a balanced and efficient heat level.
- Leaks – Try to do your own water heater repair by checking for loose connections and tighten them. Check the heating element bolts and tighten if loose. If the leak appears to be coming from the heating element, you’ll need a professional plumber water heater repair service. If the tank is leaking, it is time to replace your water heater. A water heater leaking can be caused by a few different issues like these:
- a faulty T&P valve (temperature and pressure valve)
- inappropriate water pressure
- water heater overheating
- valve stuck
- a plumbing connection leaking
- bolts loose to heating element
- gasket gone bad
- the tank is leaking
- Water is Discolored – Dirty, rusty looking water coming from your water heater usually indicates either the anode rod needs replacing, or the lining has rusted. If a water heater repair of replacing the anode rod doesn’t stop the dirty, rusty water, then it is time to replace the water heater.
- Noises and Sounds – A water heater should be fairly quiet, but when sediment has built-up in the tank, it will cause odd noises and sounds. A fairly easy water heater repair that may fix this is to flush the tank. The owner’s manual will provide instructions on how to do this. If you don’t have the manual, you can find instructions online. If the odd noises and sounds continue after flushing the water heater, you’ll need replace the water heater.
What would cause a hot water heater to stop working?
Hot water is a luxury that we assume will always be there when we need it, but one day, there is no hot water for your morning shower. It was working fine last night, what could have happened overnight?
- No Power: Whether you have an electric or gas water heater, if the power source is connected or working, you’re not going to have hot water. If all the other electric or gas appliance and features of your home are working, then you need to check the circuit breaker or the gas connection to the water heater. If these check out okay, you need to schedule a water heater repair service call.
- Cold Water: If all you’re getting is cold water, it could be the built-in thermostat, your water heater may have two thermostats. Did you know that a thermostat can fail though, and when it does, all you’ll get is cold water. A professional plumber can complete a water heater repair for this type of issue quickly and save you from buying another unit.
- Sludge Clog: If you’ve never drained and flushed your water heater, it probably has built up sediment and sludge in the tank. This can keep a water heater from heating the water, or worse, cause the tank to leak and flood your home. Call a professional plumber for water heater repair to drain and flush your water heater, or you can do this yourself following the instructions in the owner’s manual.
- Water Heater Age: Water heaters last on average, a maximum of 12 years and by the time they are 10 years old, they start performing poorly. If you have had several water heater repair calls in the past year and the unit is 8 to 10 years old, it is time to buy a new water heater.
Do you call a plumber to fix a hot water heater?
Yes, when there is a problem you can’t do your water heater repair as we’ve discussed here, then put that water heater repair on a professional plumber! They will inspect the unit, do some testing and if they find is water heater repair or replacement is necessary. They will provide you a written water heater repair estimate or installing a replacement unit.
What are the signs your hot water heater is going out?
Here are some key indicators that a water heater repair isn’t going to keep you hot water any more and it is time to buy a new one:
- The Age: Unfortunately, your water heater, like all the other household appliances, won’t last forever. You can usually get 10 years from a good quality unit that you’ve taken the maintenance steps like draining and flushing duties. Having a water softener installed will give your water heater a longer life too and require less water heater repairs. The first 2 numbers in the serial number will tell you the year your water heater was manufactured.
- Leaks: A leaking water heater is never a good thing, and it isn’t always visible. Often, a water heater has a small leak behind it dripping into the drip pan. Check your water heater connections all around it and on top, if you see any leaks, all a professional plumber for water heater repair, or you may need to replace it, the plumber can give you the best advice.
- Cloudy or Rusty Water: When the water is coming out of the faucets is cloudy or rusty, or has a metallic smell, it could be the pipes between the water heater and faucets, or it could be inside the water heater tank. A possible water heater repair would be replacing the anode rod but depending on the quality of the water and the age of the water heater, then you need to get a new water heater.
- Short on Hot Water: If you run out of hot water fast or it takes forever to get hot, your water heater is about to quit. If you have taken the recommended maintenance steps of draining and flushing your water heater and you’re still having these issues, you definitely need a new water heater.
- Water Temperature Varies: Three things can get your morning off to a bad start. One is no coffee, two is no water heater, and the third is the hot water gets cold, then hot, then cold again. When a water heater isn’t keeping hot water flowing steadily in your morning shower, it is time purchase a new water heater.
- Strange Sounds: If your water heater has popping and rumbling sounds coming out of it, that is a sound of needing a new water heater. This sound is emitting because there mineral and sediment buildup formations inside the tank hardening. With that extra thickness inside the tank, the water heater is not heating water efficiently and it is highly likely the tank could crack any time now and flood your house.
- Expensive or Multiple Repairs: A regular tune-up for your water heater shouldn’t be costly. As it gets older and parts begin to wear out, however, maintenance work will likely get more expensive. Smart homeowners know to compare the rising cost of fixing the unit with a replacement. When repairs become too expensive, replacing the water heater will be the clear solution.
How many years does a water heater last?
A good quality water heater with recommended maintenance by the homeowner, i.e. annual draining, and flushing, keeping connections tight, will give you a lifespan of 10 years or more, some have even lasted 20 years. Without the recommended maintenance, you can expect a lifespan of 8 years or less. Call 423-718-7342 today for your water heater repair needs in Chattanooga, TN.