Water Heater Repair Tips

Licensed plumbers can repair various problems with your water heater, such as leaks, lack of hot water, or rusty water. However, depending on the type of damage or your water heater’s age, it may be more cost-efficient to replace it. For more information, contact Water Heater Repair Tampa today!

To find out how old your water heater is, consult the paperwork that came with it or check the plate on its side for the model number and serial number.

  1. Water Heater Leaks

Water heater leaks are dangerous because they lead to flooding, damage, and mold growth. These extreme damages are costly and can ruin your home’s floors, walls, and possessions. Knowing where a water heater leaks helps homeowners react quickly and save money. Homeowners should know where water heater leaks are coming from and why so they can call a plumber immediately.

Leaks originating in the drain valve area can be easy for homeowners to fix. Check the drain valve to see if it is loose or damaged. If it is, tightening it with a pipe wrench can help solve the problem. Alternatively, the drain valve may need to be replaced. However, this is an expensive repair, and you should have a professional handle it.

On the other hand, if you find puddles or pools of water around your hot water tank, it may be more complicated to diagnose and fix. These puddles could be caused by soggy drywall or spots on the ceilings that are close to where the water tank is located. You should also check the pipes connected to your water heater to see if they are loose or damaged. If you have copper water supply tubes, look for loose or cracked fittings (professionals call these dielectric nipples).

Water leaks from the top of the water heater can also indicate that it is time to replace the unit. This is because the insulative material that covers the tank can develop cracks over time. However, it is also possible that the leaks are due to high water pressure or thermal expansion. Replacing the pressure-reducing valve or replacing the anode rod often solves these issues.

The bottom of the water heater is another common place where leaks originate. This is because the sediment in your water can build up and corrode the inner lining of your hot water tank. Unfortunately, these cracks are not repairable, and you must replace the entire water heater. However, if the cracks are small, you can repair them with some patching materials.

  1. Water Heater Not Heating Up

If your water heater is not heating up, you could have several problems. Some problems may be easily fixed, but others require professional attention. Check the power supply, thermostat settings, and pilot light.

If you suspect the problem is an electrical one, first make sure the unit has electricity by checking the voltage at the top two screws on the upper thermostat and comparing that reading to what’s listed on the data plate (usually 240 volts AC). If it doesn’t, the wiring on your water heater is likely incorrect and should be replaced. This job is best left to an experienced electrician or other qualified person.

Gas-powered water heaters with pilot lights can also experience a problem with the pilot light going out. If you need to familiarize yourself with relighting the pilot light, consult your owner’s manual for instructions. Older gas water heaters with standing pilot lights sometimes have warning lights on when the light goes out. Newer units typically have a button you can press to reset the pilot light.

When the water heater’s light is flickering, it can indicate a problem with your thermocouple. This small probe is designed to sit in the pilot light’s flame and stop the gas flow if the light goes out. The probe tip can become knocked off or covered with buildup that prevents it from working properly. To fix this, relight the pilot light and adjust the thermocouple if needed.

A solid red status light on your water heater can indicate several issues, including that the tank is not filling, a leak in the pressure relief valve or temperature-pressure relief valve, the thermocouple is bad, or a gas leak. These serious problems should be addressed and require professional attention from a trained technician.

  1. Water Heater Not Producing Hot Water

You should check a few things if your water heater isn’t producing hot water. First, make sure that electricity is getting to the unit. If it isn’t, turn off the breaker and reset it. If the breaker keeps tripping, you may have an issue with your home’s electrical wiring. In this case, a qualified electrician should look at the wiring to determine what is causing it to trip.

If you use gas to heat your water, a lack of hot water could mean the pilot light has gone out. Several issues, such as air in the gas line, a closed gas valve, or a faulty thermocouple, can cause this. It is important to note that a gas water heater with a defective thermocouple can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning in your home, which is an extremely dangerous situation. Call a plumbing professional if you cannot relight the pilot light or won’t stay lit.

Another possibility is that your upper thermostat has gone out. This safety device prevents the water from exceeding 180 degrees Fahrenheit. You can test this by looking at the unit and finding the top two screws on the upper thermostat. Using a multimeter, you can test to see if there is continuity between these screws and the data plate. If there isn’t, the upper thermostat needs to be replaced by a qualified technician.

Finally, if the gas valve on the water heater is open and you can relight the pilot light, the problem may lie in the thermocouple. This small probe should be sitting directly in the pilot flame, and it can sometimes get knocked off or obstructed from working properly. You can re-position or clean the thermocouple, but you should call a plumber if it still doesn’t work. It’s also worth noting that a newer thermocouple can be purchased for around $20, and you can install it yourself. Follow the video instructions in this link for a step-by-step guide.

  1. Water Heater Not Producing Hot Water

If the water heater produces lukewarm or cold water, but you’re getting hot water from other sources in your home, this may be a sign that the dip tube is broken. The dip tube is designed to shoot incoming cold water into the bottom of your water heater tank, where it can be heated quickly and efficiently. A broken dip tube can leave cold water at the top of the tank, flowing into your plumbing before being adequately heated.

A faulty heating element or thermostat could also cause a lack of hot water from your electric water heater. If you suspect either is the problem, try adjusting their temperature settings. You can also check the voltage at the top two screws of the upper thermostat, which should match the requirements on the data plate (usually 240 volts). If the power is out to your water heater, reset the circuit breaker or fuse by flipping it to OFF and back to ON. If you are still having trouble, contact an electrician to diagnose the problem.

Another reason for a lack of hot water from your gas water heater is that the pilot light might be out. If this is the case, you’ll need to follow the instructions on the unit or detailed here for relighting the pilot light.

Some older models of gas water heaters still have a pilot light, but many newer units use glow plugs or spark ignitors instead. You must replace the entire unit if your gas water heater has neither.

If you notice any strange smells coming from your plumbing, this is probably a sign of a gas leak. This is a serious safety hazard; you should shut your gas line off before trying any repairs. If you decide to attempt the repair, ensure you have all of the right tools and knowledge, and use a professional service person for anything you cannot handle with household tools.