Dealing With Water Heater Problems
The water heater is one of the last things we think about in our daily life. It’s always there and the hot water is always there …. until it isn’t. Then, one morning you get up to take your shower and there’s nothing but cold water. It is only then you wonder if you really should be scheduling a professional water heater inspection.
Why do water heaters need to be inspected?
If avoiding a cold water shower one morning isn’t enough reason, here are three more reasons why getting a water heater inspection is a good idea:
1. Avoid Expensive Major Problems
Like your car gets an annual inspection and your HVAC system gets an annual inspection, a routine water heater inspection will catch small issues before they become major problems that can be expensive. The more a water heater operates, the more sediment builds up and corrodes the unit. Corrosion and sediment build up can cause a water heater to malfunction or quit altogether. A water heater inspection will allow a technician to catch possible issues and make repairs before your water heater quits.
2. Lower Your Water Heating Costs
Heating water is a large part of a utility costs, as much as 20% in most homes. If your water heater isn’t working at its full capacity, it is using more electricity or gas to heat the water. With an annual water heater inspection, the technician can keep your water heater at optimum functionality.
3. Protection For Your Family
A gas water that isn’t working at its prime can create carbon monoxide, an odorless gas that can make you ill and is deadly if enough is leaked. This happens when a water heater isn’t vented properly, which is one thing a water heater inspection will catch and something that can be fixed before it begins leaking carbon monoxide.
What happens during a water heater inspection?
Water heaters don’t require a lot of maintenance, and the manufacturer’s manual will provide information on what should be included in a water heater inspection. Here is a brief summary of what will typically take place during a professional water heater inspection:
- Tank Flush: You can do this yourself, using instructions provided in the manual. No matter what the quality of the water coming into your home, there will always be some amount of sediment built up. A technician doing a water heater inspection will flush the tank to remove any corrosion and sediment.
- The Anode Rod: This is an important component to any water heater, but over time, because it is submerged in water protecting the water heater from rusting, it may need to be replaced. A water heater inspection will include the technician checking the anode rod and replacing it if it has started rusting.
- Additional Checks: The water heater inspection will also include checking all the plumbing connections for gas and water, checking the electrical connection if applicable and checking the pilot light.
How much does a water heater inspection cost?
A plumbing inspection will include a water heater inspection too, since both are connected and work together, it only makes sense to have your home’s plumbing check too. The average size one-story home can cost around $200.00 plus any parts and labor that is needed.
How do you test a water heater element?
When your electric water heater isn’t heating the water, it is often an burned out heater element, usually the bottom unit. However, it could be the top element and the following steps will determine which one needs to be replaced:
- Turn off the power to the water heater, including the circuit breaker.
- There are two wires connected to the water heater element, remove them and push to the side.
- Unscrew the mounting hardware and slip the wires out, bending them so they are out of the way.
- Using a multitester at ohms setting, set it at the lowest reading.
- Touch one of the multitester probes to each screw on the element. If there isn’t any ready, the element needs to be replaced.
How do you test a water heater sensor?
During a water heater inspection, the technician will check the sensor along with the element. The following steps, using a multimeter, can be checked as follows:
- Check the power supply to the thermostat terminals, there should be a reading on terminal one and terminal three of 240V. If you don’t get a reading, check the power source is on the high limit switch.
- Rotate the lower thermostat dial to deactivate and turn the temperature to its highest setting.
- Place the multimeter prongs on the terminal one and the heating element blue wire.
- If you get a reading of 240V there is power.
- Now placing the prong on terminal two and the heating element blue wire. If you don’t get a reading, the water heater thermostat needs to be replaced.
How do you test a water heater ignitor?
Today, the ignitor, or pilot light, is behind a glass so that the actual flame isn’t in the open anymore. The water heater inspection will require you to repeatedly press the ignitor button, a small blue spark should show behind that glass. If not, then the ignitor is bad and should be replaced.
How do you test a thermocouple on a water heater?
A water heater inspection will include checking the pilot light flame. If flame goes out when the button is released after 60 seconds, the thermocouple needs to be replaced. A technician can usually do this without having to remove the complete burner assembly.
In Closing – Water Heater Inspections
So, just how often should a water heater be inspected by the homeowner? Every 30 days or so, you should check all the connections, electric, gas, and water. Make sure they are all firmly connected, nothing is leaking. Once a year, flushing the tank is recommended.
A professional water heater inspection should be done once every three years until the unit is about seven to eight years old, then once a year. Most water heaters will have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. The frequency of water heater inspections should increase as they age.