Common Water Heater Problems
A water heater is a household appliance that is used to heat water for bathing, washing dishes, and laundry. Most water heaters last 8-12 years, but they can fail sooner or later depending on the quality of the unit and how well it was installed. In this guide, we will discuss some common water heater problems and how to fix them.
Top Most Common Water Heater Problems
One of the most common problems with water heaters is leaking water. There are several causes of leaks, such as a bad seal around the tank, a corroded tank, or a leaky pipe. If you notice that your water heater is leaking, you should shut it off and call a plumber right away.
How to Fix It: You can fix a leaking water heater by replacing the tank or pipe that is causing the leak. If you are unsure which part of your unit is leaking, contact an expert plumber who will diagnose and repair it for you. You can learn about water heater repair and replacement costs here.
No hot water
Another common problem with water heaters is a lack of hot water. Several possible causes of this are a bad thermostat, a clogged burner, or sediment buildup in the tank. If you are not getting any hot water from your water heater, there are several things you can do to troubleshoot this problem.
How to Fix It: Check the thermostat for signs of damage, the burners for debris, and the water heater tank for any sediment buildup. If these do not resolve the issue, you may need a new tank or burner assembly.
Water is not hot enough
If your water heater is providing hot water, but it is not as hot as you would like, you can do a few things to fix this problem. One common cause of lukewarm water is a clogged sediment buildup in the tank. Another possibility is that the thermostat needs to be adjusted or replaced.
How to Fix It: You can remove sediment buildup by draining your water heater periodically, as well as replacing its anode rod every five years or so. If these do not resolve the issue, you may need a new thermostat.
Some hot water, then stops
If you find that your water heater can no longer heat sufficient amounts of hot water, there are a few potential causes. The first one to check for is insufficient supply lines. If the pipes in your home cannot handle the amount of hot water going through them, then you will experience shortages throughout your house. You may need to have the supply lines replaced with larger ones.
How to Fix it: Check those supply lines. If it is not a problem with your supply lines, then you should check the water heater’s temperature setting. If this has been turned down too low, then there will be less hot water available for use throughout your home. You can easily adjust this by looking at your thermostat and turning the knob to a higher setting.
Water is too hot
If you are experiencing too hot water from your water heater, it could be due to a faulty thermostat or the wrong size tank for your household demand. The good news is that this problem can be easily fixed. However, it’s important not to let any of these issues go unchecked as they may lead to more severe damage if left untreated for long periods of time.
How to Fix It: You can adjust your water heater’s thermostat and/or replace it with a different tank size that will provide more hot water at once. If neither of these options works, contact an expert plumber who will diagnose and repair the problem.
Water heater is making strange noises
If your water heater is making strange noises, it may be a sign that something is wrong. Several possible causes of this problem are a leaky tank, sediment buildup, or a clogged burner. If you hear any unusual noises coming from your water heater, it’s best to call a plumber right away.
How to Fix It: You can fix this problem by replacing the tank or burner assembly and removing sediment buildup with an annual flush. If neither of these options works, contact a plumber to take a look at it.
If your water is discolored, it could be a sign that there is something wrong with your water heater. Possible causes of this problem include:
How to Fix It: If your water is discolored, the best thing to do is call a professional to inspect your water heater. They will be able to determine the cause of the problem and fix it.
If you’re comfortable doing so, you can also try cleaning out the tank yourself. Start by shutting off the power to the water heater and draining all of the water from the tank. Then use a garden hose to spray it out the tank.
Low water pressure
If you are experiencing low water pressure, the first step is to determine if the problem is your home or your water heater. To do this, turn on all of the faucets in your house and see if the pressure increases. If it does not increase, then you most likely have a problem with your water heater.
If you determine that the problem is with your water heater, the culprit may be a faulty pressure-relief valve (PRV). The PRV is responsible for keeping excessive pressure from building up in your tank and causing it to burst. If this happens, you should call a professional and have them replace the part or install an entirely new unit.
Bad smell or taste
If you notice that your water has a bad odor or taste to it, the most likely cause is some type of bacteria. However, if this problem occurs after flushing out your heater, then it may be due to an accumulation of sediments inside your tank.
You can try flushing the unit again and see if this solves the issue. If it does not, you may need to have the water heater descaled. This is a process that removes all of the built-up calcium and magnesium deposits from the tank. Having hard water vs soft water could be the cause of this. Once this is done, your water should taste and smell better.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the symptoms of a bad water heater?
If your water is rusty, the pilot light isn’t lit, or the water is dirty or smelly, it could mean that there’s a problem with your water heater. To fix these issues, you may need to replace certain parts of the heater or flush out its contents entirely. You can also try checking the safety valves on the top and bottom of the tank to see if they’re clogged.
How do I know when it's time to replace my water heater?
Most water heaters last around eight to twelve years, so if your heater is older than this, it might be time for a replacement.
Who should I call to fix my water heater?
If you’re not comfortable trying to fix the problems yourself, you can always call a professional to do it for you. Just be sure to ask them about the warranty on their services in case something goes wrong.