6 Common Water Heater Problems to Look Out For

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water heater problems

The average American uses an equivalent of 64 gallons of water daily. In most of these homes, water heating currently ranks as the second-largest consumer of energy. Few Americans, if any, can survive a day without a functional water heater.

Unless you’re turning off the water heater on purpose, heaters are among the few appliances in your home that are always in use. Water heaters ensure a constant flow of warm water from faucets and in every other plumbing fixtures within your home. Nothing is more frustrating than dealing with water heater problems at home.

The average life expectancy for most water heaters is about 8 to 12 years. However, depending on your approach to maintenance, the onset of water heater problems maybe sooner than five years.

Here are six of the most common water heater problems you shouldn’t ignore.

1. No Hot Water

The primary function of the water heater in your home is to ensure a steady flow of hot water. Therefore, it signals a major technical issue when there’s no hot water streaming from your faucets. Most water heaters use two heating elements to keep your water warm.

The most probable reason why there’s no hot water could be a fault with the circuit breaker. Your first stop should be to check if the circuit breaker may have tripped. You should also check the heating elements to assess if they could be the cause of the functionality concerns.

Most time, you only need to check the breaker box or replace the heating elements. If this doesn’t help, you should consider checking the reset switch and replacing it if it has tripped.

When your water heater is not heating, this could signal a significant problem, which might necessitate the intervention of a water heater installer.

2. Water Leaks

Leaks are among the most common water heater problems you need to be aware of as a homeowner. Leaks may either emanate from the top or the bottom of your electric water heater tank. Most times, the cold inlet and the hot outlet pipes tend to be loose, leading to the leaks.

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Water leaks at the top of the heater could also be due to failures in the inlet valves. When water leaks from the bottom of the radiator, it’s mostly because of normal condensation. A leaky electric heating element gasket could also be the culprit.

It’s normal to panic whenever you discover water leaks from the top or the bottom of the heater. The good thing is this problem only requires minor repairs. It would be best to call in a specialist to check out the system.

3. Water Is Excessively Hot

You intend to take a quick warm shower not to experience the torturous process of scalding. As such, it can be painful and distressing when your water heater keeps emitting excessively hot water. You don’t need to keep up with the blistering experience.

Water heaters often emit water that’s hotter than usual when there’s a problem with the thermostat. Check if the temperature on your thermostat is set to high. Sometimes all you need it to adjust the temperature back to normal.

If the problem is a faulty thermostat, then you might need to consider a replacement. In some other instances, the issue could be underlying wiring issues. For the latter, you might need to consider the services of a pro in plumbing and heating.

4. A Noisy Water Tank

Water heaters don’t operate in utmost silence. Even so, certain levels of noise indicate a significant functionality problem. If you’ve used your water heater for a while, it’s easier to detect the onset of a strange noise.

Sediment buildup at the bottom of the tanks is the most common cause of the noise. The heating element has to burn the sediment, a process that causes the sounds. You might need to drain the water from the tanks then clean the bottom of the tank as an immediate measure.

If sediment buildup isn’t the leading cause of the noise, you need to assess the heating elements. Calling in a specialist can help you determine the state of the heating element before proposing a replacement. It’s advisable to consider tank maintenance at least annually to reduce the buildup of sediments and protect the heating elements.

5. Foul Smell in Water

Smelly water is among the water heater problems that often have homeowners on edge. Most water from faucets goes into food preparation and other delicate domestic functions. As such, smelly water can be a cause for alarm.

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Often, smelly water from the heating system is a result of bacteria growth. The water inside the heating tank is susceptible to infection, which causes the foul smell. The stench resembles that of a rotten egg and can be quite irritating.

You can decide to drain the entire tank first, and then clean it up before adding fresh water. Adding hydrogen peroxide to clean water for about 2 hours can help kill any germs in the tank. If this doesn’t resolve the issue, then the problem could be with the water supply, not the water heater.

6. Low Water Pressure

Did you know that a hot shower 1 or 2 hours before bedtime can significantly improve your sleep?

However, coming home to water trickling at a snail pace can affect your motivation to take a relaxing bath. Low water pressure is among the typical water heater problems Americans grapple with routinely.

Older homes experience low hot water pressure when the galvanized piping has a ½-inch diameter. You might need to replace your pipes if this is the underlying cause of low pressure. It would also help to check the pipes for any possible formation of rust and deposits around the water pipes.

Low water pressure is a problem that may require specialized interventions. A professional can advise you on whether to repair or replace such pipes.

Call in a Specialist in Case of Any of These Water Heater Problems

Nothing is more annoying than coming home to a faulty water heater.

While you might consider DIY for some of the less intricate water heater problems, it would help to call in an expert to deal with the more technical issues.

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