4 Common Water Heater Problems With Easy Fixes

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Hot water is a basic necessity in our everyday modern lives. We need it for showering, washing clothes, washing dishes, cleaning, and cooking. When there’s a problem with your water heater, finding a solution quickly moves to the top of your to-do list.

Read on to learn about common water heater problems that homeowners can easily fix.

1. Water is Too Hot or Too Cold

water heater temperature

Changing the temperature of your hot water heater is perhaps the easiest problem to fix. It is simply a matter of finding the temperature control on your water heater.

Every water heater has a temperature dial on the front of the tank. Adjust it either up or down to change the temperature. A great way to save money while out of the house is to turn your water heater down to “low” or “vacation” mode.

2. Water Heater Pilot Light Is Out

The pilot light is the perpetual flame that is used to light the gas burner in the water tank. If this light is out, it may indicate a problem with your water heater. However, it’s always best to try and relight the pilot light first before jumping to any conclusions.

First, remove the access panel at the bottom of your tank to light the pilot light. If you smell gas, do not attempt to light the pilot. Instead, find the natural gas valve on the gas pipeline and move it perpendicular to the pipe. If you cannot find it quickly, evacuate the house and call your utility company to shut off the gas. Then, you’ll need to call a professional plumber to find and fix the gas problem.

If you don’t smell gas, you can proceed. Turn the temperature dial on your water heater to as low as it can go, and wait a few minutes to clear out the gas. This is important to stay safe.

Check for a dial labeled PILOT; this is your regulator valve. This may be a separate dial from the temperature control dial or combined into a single one.

Check to see if your water heater has an ignition switch or button. If it doesn’t, you’ll need a long-necked safety lighter. Set the pilot dial to PILOT. Press the ignition switch or use the lighter until the pilot flame is burning again. If you cannot get it to lit within 60 seconds, turn all the knobs off, wait five minutes, and try again. Excess built-up gas is dangerous to light.

Once the pilot light is lit, press the regulator valve knob down with a finger and maintain pressure for one minute. This allows the safety sensor to detect a pilot light. After a minute, release the knob and check that the pilot light stays lit, then turn the temperature knob to the ON position.

Then, adjust the water heater’s temperature valve and bring it up from the LOW setting. Most homes find peak efficiency and safety at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Water Heater Temperature Fluctuations

Hot water temperature fluctuations are common in aging water heaters. There are three main causes of water heater temperature fluctuations: too much sediment, a failing or dirty heating component, or a broken dip tube. Homeowners can deal with the first; the next two are probably best left to professionals.

If temperature fluctuations coincide with unusual popping noises, there’s probably too much sediment and scale buildup in the tank. Draining and cleaning the water heater is required. Once the water heater is emptied and the drain valve removed, the bottom of the water heater can be scrubbed with a long, thin brush.

A dirty or failing heating component, such as a dirty heat exchanger or faulty electric element, heats cold intake water intermittently at best. Inspecting, repairing, or replacing these parts is generally best left to your plumbing professional.

The dip tube directs cold intake water to the bottom of the water heater. A cracked or broken dip tube causes intake water to mix with stored hot water, which causes temperature fluctuations. When replacing the dip tube, your plumber should also replace the anode rod. The anode rod helps prevent tank corrosion that can cause water discoloration, odors, and rupture.

4. Water Heater Leaks Water

water heater leak pooling water

Water leaks should be taken very seriously. Water leaks either occur at the temperature and pressure (T&P) valve, parts with worn seals, or the water heater itself is leaking.

If the T&P valve is leaking or dripping, contact a plumber immediately to prevent catastrophe. Water pooling beneath the water heater signals an imminent rupture of a corroded tank and also necessitates a call to your plumber.

Leaky seals may leak so little water that they’re difficult to locate. Look for rust and corrosion on the outside of the water heater to identify the leaky part.

Expert Water Heater Plumbing Services

If your hot water isn’t so hot these days, please contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing for top-quality Cincinnati plumbing services for water heaters. We can fix, maintain, and repair any brand or model of water heater in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, and Dayton, Ohio.

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