Hot Water Heater Troubleshooting

by | Dec 15, 2018 | Plumbing Tips | 0 comments

Just like with any other home appliance, hot water heaters tend to break down or cause problems. Constant wear and tear over time take a toll and there will be instances where it will need to be serviced.


Many of these problems are common though. With some help and guidance, a lot of these hot water heater problems can be solved with a little troubleshooting.

Whether you have a storage or tankless water heater, or if it’s gas or electric powered, these troubleshooting tips will allow you to handle some of these easy-to-fix issues on your own.

No Hot water is Coming Out

A common issue many run into is noticing that the water coming out of your hot water heater is not getting hot. Fortunately, there are some simple services you can perform to make sure your water is back to normal.

For gas hot water heaters, be sure the gas line isn’t off. There is a chance someone closed it and forgot to open it back up. Just follow the gas line down from the water heater and it will lead you to the shut-off valve. If that isn’t the issue, check the hot water heater’s pilot light. Without the pilot light on, the burner won’t be able to be ignited to heat the water.

To re-ignite the pilot light, remove the cover on the hot water heater and read the instructions on the side. This should give you a full guide on how to turn the light on and restore hot water back in your home. If the issue still persists, contact a licensed professional plumbing technician to take a look at it.

For electric hot water heaters, the easiest solution is to check the circuit board. There is a chance the hot water heater’s circuit breaker tripped, causing no power to heat any of the water. All it takes to reset the circuit is just a simple switch to the off position and then a flip back to the on position.

If you are still experiencing hot water issues, you can reset your hot water heater by opening the control unit inside the control panel. From there, press the reset button and wait a bit for the tank to heat the water back up.

If issues still persist, the heating elements of the hot water heater may be out. If so, contact professional plumbing services to easily take care of the problem for you.

The Hot Water Heater Temperature is too Hot

One issue a hot water heater can encounter is producing water that is just too hot. Nothing is more frustrating than a drastic temperature change while you are in the shower or even washing your hands.

Luckily, troubleshooting this is not as difficult as you would think. Many times, the issue has to do with the thermostat being set too high. The recommended temperature for a hot water heater is between 115 and 125 F.

Make sure to give the water heater enough time to adjust to the correct temperature. This usually takes a couple of hours. If you are still finding an issue with intensely hot water or steam coming out of the faucets, there may be a problem with the temperature-pressure relief valve that is causing the hot water tank to not shut off at the set temperature. This should get looked at immediately by a trained plumber before running the risk of the water heater rupturing.

There is Leaking from the Bottom of the Tank

Finding out your hot water heater is leaking from the bottom is actually a more common issue than someone may think. But, just because it is a typical spot for a hot water heater leak, doesn’t mean this isn’t a serious issue.

The culprit could be a leak in the drain valve. This is located at the bottom of the tank and should be drained on a regular basis to remove any sediment that collects inside the tank. A quick replacement of the drain valve should usually provide the answer.

If you still notice a leak after you replace the valve, then the problem could come from inside the tank itself. Sediment build-up can cause the tank to rust and crack, which can be the direct cause of the leak. If this is the case, then the hot water tank will need to be replaced from a professional plumber.

The Hot Water Tank is Producing Different Color Water

There could be times when you notice a discoloration when you turn on your water. This is a result of minerals such as iron and copper making their way into the water supply. An easy solution is to install a whole-house filter or water softener to filter out any minerals in the water.

Also, discoloration of your water can come from corrosion inside the hot water tank itself or even the water pipes in your home. To combat this, contact a licensed plumbing technician to properly treat your hot water heater or any of the water pipes in your home.

The Hot Water Smells Bad

Another issue to take a look at when it comes to your hot water heater is noticing a strong pungent odor, similar to rotten eggs, coming from the hot water.

The cause of this is usually water that is high in sulfates at the time. At first, try letting the hot water run for two or three minutes. Eventually, the smell of rotten eggs will disappear when the tank runs out of water and the sulfates are gone.

If this is a problem that’s persistent, your hot water heater may be in need of a flush out. If the problem is still not solved, there is a good chance your hot water heater may need a new flexible anode rod. As with any plumbing issue, if you need help solving these problems it is best to call a certified licensed plumber.

Plumbing Services for Further Assistance

These simple troubleshooting tasks can be your guide to help perform some repairs and services to your hot water heater. However, if the problem is an issue that seems to be out of your reach, contact us at About Plumbing. Our licensed and experienced plumbing technicians can easily help solve any problems that you may face. Whether repairs or installations, our plumbing services cover all types of conventional storage and tankless hot water heaters.

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