You may have heard scary stories about water heaters exploding and flooding basements. Some stories about gas water heaters bursting and flying into the air like NASA rockets sound like horror movies. For instance, in Mission, TX, a gas water heater exploded, burning a house and injuring the self-proclaimed DIYer who was trying to fix it.
Generally, water heaters are not safe to work with, but gas water heaters are more dangerous. This is because they are fueled with combustible natural gas that burns to heat the water in the tank.
The water in the gas tank can shoot to sizzling temperatures, depending on the level you have set the thermostat. Thus, it’s emphasized to be highly cautious when assessing any issues with the water heater.
Not to be dramatic, but at least 30 people in the United States lose their lives annually due to leaking or exploding gas water heaters. Thus, it’s always recommended to contact a professional plumber immediately if you notice something wrong with your gas water heater, even if it seems minor.
Even experienced DIYers are warned from attempting quick fixes for safety concerns and to prevent future problems. This blog post highlights common issues that your gas water heater may encounter and how a certified and experienced plumber in Schertz, TX can help you resolve the problems.
Gas leakage from the water heater is hazardous. Although gas leaks are not common, they can be lethal, causing the loss of lives. Leaks are urgent issues that need to be addressed promptly by a qualified and experienced plumber in your area.
Below are some problems that could cause your gas water heater to leak.
Leaking Temperature and Pressure Relief (T&P) Valves
A gas water heater can leak because of the T&P valve. The function of this valve is to reduce pressure inside the tank. When the T&P valve malfunctions, pressure inside the tank increases.
If the valve is loose, you only need to tighten it, but if it’s faulty, you should call a plumber to replace it. Individuals who prefer to deal with problems related to T&P valves without involving a plumber should start by lowering the pressure in the tank.
Old Water Tank
Like all household appliances, gas water tanks deteriorate as they age. If your gas water tank is old, you will likely experience lower water retention and leaks. As you use the tank, rust builds up, causing internal corrosion. When the tank’s interior has rusted, it cracks, allowing water to escape.
Some folks prefer to patch the cracks, but this is not a permanent solution. To avoid such recurrent leaks due to old age, you should contact a plumber in Schertz to replace the gas water heater.
No Hot Water
Having your gas water heater fail, especially during the coldest season, is agonizing. No one wants to suffer an icy shower during the frigid winters or be confronted with cold water filling the kitchen when the dinner dishes are piling up. It’s sad to say your gas water heater could unexpectedly stop heating.
When that happens, the following issues could be the culprit.
A water heater thermocouple is a vital part of gas-powered water heaters. It ensures that water heaters fueled by propane or natural gas operate safely. Unlike other parts of the gas water heater, issues with the thermocouple are easy to fix and not costly.
If you don’t have hot water in your home, in most cases, you could have a malfunctioning thermocouple. Once this part is damaged, it turns off the gas valve, preventing the water heater from boiling the water in the tank.
A dim pilot light indicates you have a faulty thermocouple. Even if you try to light the pilot, you’ll notice that it doesn’t stay lit, meaning the thermocouple is already damaged, but in some cases, it could mean a malfunctioning thermal cutoff switch.
Although replacing a thermocouple is cheap and not complicated, working with a professional plumber is recommended because handling natural gas appliances can be risky.
Bad Gas Control Valve
The function of the gas control valve is to control the flow of gas into the water heater. It’s an essential safety feature because it picks up electrical current coming from the thermocouple and turns off the gas if the pilot is not lit. Thus, you’ll be left out in the cold if the control valve is faulty.
Unfortunately, if the gas control valve is faulty, you only have zero options. In such cases, replacement is usually the only course of action. It’s a bigger job and relatively expensive that needs to be handled by a qualified plumber in Schertz, TX.
Bad Pilot Light
Your gas water heater uses a small flame called a pilot light to ignite the burner. This flame must remain lit at all times. The water heater triggers the gas burner with the aid of the pilot light to heat the water in the tank.
Thus, the pilot light plays a critical role in the functioning of a gas water heater. When it fails or malfunctions, you’ll end up with cold water. Fortunately, you can troubleshoot to light the pilot light, saving you some money.
If the pilot light is not lit, it could mean the tube or orifice is clogged; you can clean it and get the pilot light running again. But if the problem persists, you’ll need to call a plumber in Schertz, TX, to replace this part.
The igniter, also known as the spark electrode, lights the pilot. If the igniter is defective, it will hamper the ignition process, preventing water from heating. Before seeking assistance from your local plumber, you can use a multimeter to check if there is electrical continuity in the igniter. If the results are negative, you’ll need to replace this part.
Water Taking Too Long to Heat
If you find yourself waiting for the shower to heat up for a long time, yet no one is doing the dishes or has used the shower before you, your gas water heater could be having problems.
In such cases, the following could be the issue:
Water entering the tank contains dissolved minerals and other debris. Most of the particles sink and accumulate at the bottom of the tank where the heating component is situated. They soil the burner and pilot light; thus, you may have to wait a long time for the water to heat, but still, end with cold or lukewarm water.
Fortunately, if you invest in regular water heater maintenance, you don’t have to worry about such problems because a plumber will ensure the tank remains clean by draining any debris.
Faulty Heating System
The lifespan of a gas water heater ranges from 6 to 10 years. But it can last up to 15 years if you invest in professional maintenance. Therefore, as the gas water heater approaches the end of its service life, the heating element may break down due to corrosion, causing the tank to lose its effectiveness.
Also, thermostat and gas valve issues are common in old water heaters causing them to produce lukewarm or cold water. Not to worry, though; an expert plumber in Schertz, TX will inspect and help you replace the gas water heater.
Broken Dip Tube
Cold enters the heating tank via the dip tube. This duct conveys water to the bottom of the tank, where it’s heated quickly for use. If your dip tube is faulty, cold water stays at the top of the tank and won’t be heated to the required temperatures.
Thus, you end up with lukewarm water in your kitchen or bathroom because the water outlet is at the top of your tank.
Water Heater Making a Popping or Hissing Noise
Most homeowners assume their gas water heater is in excellent condition and forget about it until they hear weird and scary noises.
Among those sounds include a hissing noise. This sound should not cause panic as there could be various reasons behind it. Some noises are normal and could need a small fix. However, other hissing sounds could signify a bigger problem requiring you to replace your unit. Thus, it’s important to have a qualified plumber examine the water heater.
Popping is another sound that you can hear from the gas water heater. In most cases, it signifies your tank has excess sediment at the bottom. This problem needs to be checked by a plumbing technician immediately to avoid an explosion of the water tank, especially in old models.
Therefore, if your gas water heater makes the above noises, it could be due to the following:
After some time, sediment builds in the bottom of the tank. The residue leads to overheating of the water heater, producing strange sounds. A plumber in Schertz, TX can drain the tank to remove the sediments, saving your tank from severe problems.
If you hear a hissing sound yet have not used hot water, you should act swiftly, as this indicates a serious problem in the tank. First, the unit could be leaking, allowing water to escape and come into contact with hot heater surfaces, hence, the hissing sound.
Also, if you notice the presence of water below the gas water heater tank, you could have a leakage. If such minor cracks are not addressed promptly over time, they widen, causing massive water leakage, and eventually, the tank bursts. Always reach out to a plumber in Schertz, TX when you notice a leak in your gas water heater before it’s too late.
Dirty or Discolored Water
Rusty or brown water from the gas water heater implies a severe and dangerous plumbing problem. Surprisingly some homeowners ignore this issue despite knowing that discolored water is unsafe for consumption.
Dirty or discolored hot water indicates a heater problem. To be sure, ensure to run cold water only. If the cold water is also brownish, your water heater is in perfect condition. However, if the cold water is clear and only the hot water is rusty, you have a problem and should have the tank flushed.
Some of the reasons that cause water in your gas heater tank to be discolored include:
Presence of sediments in the water heater
If you don’t invest in regular maintenance, don’t be surprised when sediments damage your system. They contaminate clean hot water, causing it to turn reddish-brown.
When these particles are in excess, they not only increase your electricity bill but also shorten the lifespan of your gas water heater and increase your energy bill. A professional plumber can help you with regular maintenance, preventing sediments from building at the unit’s base.
If the interior of your water tank is corroded, you’ll end up with dirty water in the bathroom or kitchen. The tank’s interior usually rusts over time due to the accumulation of excess minerals.
Corroded gas hot water tanks expose you and your loved ones to health risks. Thus, it would help if a plumber replaced it immediately.
Old Water Heater
Brown or discolored hot water is common in old gas water tanks because of corrosion that happens over time. Other signs indicating that your gas water heater is at the end of its life cycle include drastic temperature fluctuations, erosion, strange sounds, and visible leakage.
In such cases, you should contact a professional plumber in Schertz, TX to conduct a water heater replacement.
bluefrog Plumbing + Drain + HVAC of San Antonio: Your Water Heater Aficionados
Gas water heaters are complex systems and dangerous to work with. Not to worry, at bluefrog Plumbing + Drain + HVAC of San Antonio, we are staffed with licensed plumbers with decades of experience diagnosing and fixing water heater problems.
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