Your water heater is an expensive appliance, and it always pays to be on the alert for any indicators that an upcoming repair might be required. Sooner is always better; you don’t want to risk needing a full-blown replacement when you could have opted for a cheaper water heater repair just that bit earlier! In this article, we’ll highlight more than ten indicators that the water heater in your home could benefit from an immediate service.
Water heaters can give many warning signs that they are near the end of their usefulness, such as:
- Hot water not getting to the right temperature
- Temperature fluctuations
- Reduced flow rate
- Reduced hot water volume
- Discolored water output
- Unexpected noises
None of these warning signs should be overlooked, even if they only seem like a minor annoyance.
How to Diagnose a Problem with Your Water Heater
If you believe your water heater may be having issues, there are several steps you can take.
A lot of issues are caused by the water heater not receiving power. If it’s an electric heater, check the fuse box or circuit breaker first to make sure it hasn’t been tripped. Do this before you call for a water heater repair service. If your water heater is gas-powered, a pilot light should be present. This small flame ignites the burner when hot water is needed. You’ll need to relight the pilot if it has gone out; how quickly this process takes depends on the make and model of your hot-water heater.
Relighting your water heater’s pilot lamp might not be an easy task if it has become permanently damaged. To determine whether manual or electronic ignition is required, look up manufacturer instructions via their website or in the manual for assistance. You can always call a trusted plumber to take a look at the ignition mechanism.
It is essential to check the temperature and color of the water coming through your water heater on a regular basis. Two distinct issues can arise: cold water or brown muddy water. While both may be due to similar causes, there may also be other reasons for why your water is running cold. A plumber experienced in water heater repair can determine the true cause and help you resolve it.
Still no hot water? Here are 10 more things to look for!
- Water Leaks. Leakage is one of the primary reasons why your water heater may not be working properly. Check around your house for any potential sources of water damage that could be causing your hot water supply to malfunction. These could include cracked or leaky faucets or broken pipes in the attic or basement.
- Gas Leaks & Faulty Gas Valves. Your water heater could be experiencing an issue if it is powered by natural gas. If you detect gas, immediately shut off its power supply and contact your gas company. In many cases, a water heater repair service will also be required to replace the gas valve on your water heater.
- Damaged Heating Elements. If not powered by gas, your water heater will contain one or more electric heating elements. A digital multimeter can be used to test its resistance and voltage according to instructions in its manual; if these readings don’t match, replacement of this element is required. A replacement should be performed by a plumber licensed and insured to work in your home.
- Damaged Gas Control or Burner Assembly. A burner assembly is used in a gas water heater instead of an electric heating element. If something goes awry with either of these components, or both, then it could be either the burner assembly or gas control valve that needs replacing. Issues with any component in this assembly require booking a water heater repair service. The gas burner itself is only one element of what makes up this larger assembly; thermocouple, main burner, main gas supply tube and orifice are all part of it. If any are blocked or malfunctioning then the entire system won’t function correctly.
- Faulty TPR Valve. Weakened temperature and pressure relief (TPR) valves can have serious consequences. If the tank pressure is too high, the temperature pressure valve releases water from the tank – this could stop your water heater from working if it doesn’t shut off correctly when temperatures are right. If you feel dampness below the discharge line from your water heater, first lower its temperature; if still present, contact an experienced technician to replace this valve during a water heater repair service.
- Temperature Control Issues. These could include problems with either of your thermostats. Your water heater thermostat is essential in maintaining the right temperature. Make sure it is set correctly so your water doesn’t get too hot or cold, since this device works hard even when not in use, setting it correctly is key to preventing premature repairs.
- Failing Anode Rod. The water heater’s anode rod serves to protect it against rust and corrosion. However, over time this rod may corrode, necessitating replacement. Without water heater repair and regular maintenance and protection from corrosion, your heater could rust significantly faster.
- An Inadequately-sized Water Heater. Sometimes, a water heater may not be appropriately sized for your household needs. When too many people demand hot water from it, the heater won’t be able to keep up, leading to either lukewarm or no hot water at all.
- Rust and Corrosion. Rust and corrosion can often go undetected for a long time. Water that appears discolored could indicate a problem with the heater; call a plumber if you see discolored water as you may be able to solve this issue through water heater repair.
- Age. If it has been in operation for 10 or more years, replacing may be the only option. Over time, every water heater’s elements will deteriorate and become less efficient, leaving it more susceptible to problems.
Call bluefrog Plumbing + Drain + HVAC of San Antonio if you spot any of the above indicators and need water heater repair.
See our most recent blog on this topic here.