While a water heater works behind the scenes most of the time, they can gradually develop problems. If you've never been forced to deal with a malfunctioning water heater, you may think that the only solution is to replace the entire unit. However, diagnosing water heater issues can be easy if you know what to look for. Below, you will find a list of the top five water heater problems.
- A lack of heat: This issue's causes differ depending on whether your heater runs on gas or electricity. With a gas water heater, your first step should be to check its pilot light. If there's no flame, there may be an issue with your gas supply—and you'll need to call the utility company. If the pilot light won't stay lit, there may be an issue with the control valve or the thermocouple. For electric heaters, check the breaker box first. If the breaker has tripped, reset it by turning it off and then back on. Persistent issues may signal a problem with the heating element or thermostat. Working around gas and electricity is dangerous and you shouldn't try to fix it yourself; call a plumber.
- Insufficient heating: If you're going through hot water faster than normal, there may be several reasons. In some cases, sediment can build up in the bottom of the heater tank, displacing water. The thermostat could be broken, or the dip tube could be damaged. The tube pushes cold water to the tank's bottom; if it breaks, cold water can seep into the top of the tank as heated water flows out. Your plumber will flush the sediment out of the heater during regular maintenance.
- A foul odor: All heater tanks corrode eventually, and rust in the water is a reliable indicator. Corrosion can build up on the anode rods that protect the tank walls, or it can affect the tank. Decaying anodes can create hydrogen, which feeds the bacteria living in the sediment at the bottom of the tank. As bacteria multiply, your water may take on a foul odor. If the corrosion isn't too bad, a plumber can replace the anode rods and extend the life of your water heater for a few more years.
- Noisy operation: Popping or rumbling coming from the heater tank is an indication of sediment buildup, which can cause the water within to overheat. An electric water heater can make a whining noise as lime builds up on the heating elements. A plumber can solve the problem by flushing the tank and soaking the heating element in a de-liming product.
- Leaks: A leak can occur for several reasons: it could come from the TPR (temperature pressure relief) valve, a worn gasket or fitting, or from the tank. If the TPR valve leaks, call a plumber right away.
Even a well-maintained water heater will eventually reach the end of its life. By being on the lookout for these issues, and by calling a plumber when needed, you can keep your water heater working properly for years.
For professional plumbing services, contact a company such as Two Men And A Snake.