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A Guide to Common Water Heater Issues

Troubleshooting your water heater could save you days of headache and potentially a lot of money. The type of water heater you have and the issue you notice determine what you should try to do in response.

A Guide to Common Water Heater Issues

If You Have a Storage Tank Heater…

The basic idea of any tank system will be that cold water is fed in at the top of the big cylinder, which is heated from the bottom, so that hot water can be drawn back up from a different pipe on the top. There are multiple other parts that offer safety from pressure or temperature buildup or water quality, but that is the basic idea.

… and There’s a Leak

  • Check over all the valves, nuts, and loose connections as potential sources of the leak.
  • If you suspect condensation as causing the leak, shut the heater off for a few hours and start it again. If the leak is fixed, prevent it from returning by turning the thermostat down.
  • If the leak is coming from the bottom of the tank, it is likely the entire heater will have to be replaced.

… and the Water Temperature is Wrong

  • Check if the circuit breaker tripped.
  • Check whether the thermostat is at the appropriate setting.
  • Push the high-temperature cutoff reset button, but if that doesn’t work, then try testing each of the heating elements.

… or Something Else is Wrong

  • Dirty water could be caused by a corroded anode rod within the tank, which can be replaced. The tank should be flushed after doing so.

If You Have a Tankless Heater…

Be forewarned that these models tend to be more complex to fix, but the idea behind them is simple. When a tap is turned on water is drawn through the heater as a burner and heat exchange condenser to output hot water. There are many valves and electrical parts that help keep this process precise.

… and There’s a Lack of Water

  • Check if all the valves are functioning and unobstructed.
  • The whole heating element may need to be replaced. You should drain the water in the pipes of the heater before removing the cover and disconnecting the wires.

… and the Water Temperature is Wrong

  • If the entire heater just shut down, first try resetting it.
  • Then check if adjusting the thermostat fixes the issue.
  • The temperature sensor may be malfunctioning. Use a multimeter to check if it needs replacing.
  • Check if all the valves and exhaust are unobstructed
  • If nothing seems wrong, you might just need a larger water heater if you only notice a problem when drawing a lot of water at once.

… or Something Else is Wrong

  • You will occasionally need to flush the heater of any mineral buildups, especially if you live in an area with hard water. Professionals recommend using white vinegar to do this twice a year.

Even if you can diagnose the source of your issues, sometimes it feels better to call a professional who will give you an honest, flat-rate price. If you live in the Tampa area, you can rely on Titan Plumbing & Electric; schedule one of our professionals to come take a look at your water heater by calling (813) 933-8010.