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Diagnosing Water Heater Problems

Diagnosing Water Heater Problems

Identify The Source Of The Problem

When your water heater is working properly, you use hot water for everything from washing dishes, doing laundry, and taking showers without a thought. But when it stops working, you have no choice but to identify the source of the problem and get it repaired quickly and efficiently.

While some water heater problems are easier to diagnose than others we’ve complied a quick reference guide. However, prior to performing any troubleshooting on the water heater, please make sure to prepare safely for the job by:

  1. Turning the power off to an electric water heater at the circuit breaker and/or the fuse.
  2. Turning the gas pilot control valve to the “pilot” setting.
  3. Shutting off the water supply to the water heater.

Inadequate Hot Water

If the water isn’t hot enough, the first thing to do is check the thermostat. If the thermostat is set correctly, try to remember when you last flushed out the tank. Mineral deposits can build up inside the tank which can prevent the water from heating up properly. If your tank doesn’t need flushing, you might want to check the heater’s dip tube. A broken or damaged dip tube allows cold and hot water to mix in tank causing it not to heat up properly.

No Hot Water

If there’s simply no hot water it could mean the pilot light’s gone out. Check the pilot light. If it’s out, you can relight it, by following the directions in your owner’s manual. Some possible causes include a faulty gas pilot, faulty gas thermocouple, faulty gas pilot control valve, or improper gas pressure.

Strange Noises

If you’re hearing strange popping noises coming from your hot water heater you’re probably hearing sediment or hard-water scale that’s accumulated at the bottom of the tank and broken off. In this case you’ll have to drain the tank and clean out the sediment. According to all major water heater manufacturers, the storage tank in your water heater needs to be drained and flushed free of sediment every 12 months. To ensure that the tank has been properly flushed, you should call a professional plumber.

Water On The Floor

If you find water on the floor near the water heater, it means that water is leaking from the tank. The water could be coming from a loose valve, the relief valve, or from a leaky pipe. If you don’t see any leaky pipes, and the relief valve is leaking call a professional plumber as these valves leak for a specific reason which should be determined and not ignored. If the water valve is leaking it may be loose so you could try to tighten it. Otherwise, the leak might be coming from a defective heating element or from the tank itself.

Contact Horizon Services

With over 20 years of service experience, we have helped thousands of homeowners in the Delaware, Southeastern Pennsylvania, South New Jersey, and Northeastern Maryland areas with their plumbing needs. Our team of plumbing professionals consists of some of the most experienced and most qualified plumbers working today in the Delaware Valley. These are top-notch plumbing technicians who can accurately diagnose and quickly fix any and all plumbing problems. Plumbing emergencies are our specialty!.

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