The Top 10 Most Common Water Heater Problems (and How to Fix Them)

Most Common Water Heater Problems

Have you ever found yourself jumping in the shower only to find the water frigid cold? Don’t suffer through cold baths or showers.

You probably have a problem with your water heater.

Your best solution is to learn the most common water heater problems and how to solve them. Get back to using the hot water and enjoying those morning showers.

1. No Hot Water

Everyone likes to bathe in comfort. No hot water takes away the option to control your preferred temperature.

Homes with electric water heaters may have a simple solution. Check the electric breaker to see if it’s flipped. Depending on how long it’s been, the entire tank could be cold.

For gas water heaters, the most common solution is making sure the pilot light is lit.

2. Water is Too Hot

While no hot water is certainly a problem, water that is too hot is also not good. Check your thermostat to change the settings and lower the temperature.

People often set the thermostat on the water heater high during the winter but forget to turn it back down in the summer.

If you cannot lower the water temperature, your thermostat may be broken. Have a professional come look at the water heater if you suspect a wiring problem.

3. Not Enough Hot Water Pressure

If a person isn’t getting a lot of hot water pressure, there’s a good chance the pipes and home are older.

Older homes are usually fitted with galvanized piping that is half an inch in diameter. Along with sediment and rust build-up, you can fix the issue by replacing your plumbing with three-quarter-inch PVC piping.

If the piping is modern, then check the showerhead and filter. Some showerheads become clogged with corrosion or calcium deposits.

4. Common Water Heater Problems Involving Bad Smells

Have you noticed a bad smell from the water when it runs hot? This is a common water heater problem with people who get their water from a well.

The rotten or foul smell is usually because of bacteria in the water from the well.

There are a few options to fix this issue. A person can flush their water heater every few months. Replace the anode rod to make this fix last longer.

If you’re in a hurry, then turn the water heater thermostat up to kill the bacteria. This will temporarily fix the problem for guests or visitors.

5. Water Is Leaking From the Top

Do you see water leaking or pooling at the top of the water heater? There two reasons this is happening.

The first reason is that the hot water outlet pipes and cold water inlet are loose. The second reason is that a temperature and pressure relief valve is loose.

If these problems cannot be fixed by tightening the valves, then you need to call an expert immediately.

6. Water Is Leaking From the Bottom

Don’t be alarmed if you see water leaking out of the bottom of your water heater. There are a few things causing this to happen.

For an electric water heater, the leaking might be due to condensation. Solve this problem by turning up the thermostat.

It’s also possible the water is coming from the overflow pipe trying to release extra pressure. Make sure the pipe connects to a drain.

If you see water directly coming out of the water tank itself, then you need to replace the entire water heater. The average life of a water heater is about 10 years.

7. Is the Water Heater Making Noise?

Have you started hearing knocking or popping sounds coming from the water heater? It can sound pretty concerning, but usually it’s nothing.

The most common reasons for the noise are due to sediments at the bottom of the tank and scale build-up on the heating components.

Some of the noises you are hearing are from the pressure inside the tank. If you can visibly see the tank getting abnormally large, contact a professional to get guidance.

8. Off-Color Hot Water

Dirty water is a sign of a rusted anode rod or water tank. If you replace the anode rod and still see dirty water, then the tank is rusting and needs to be replaced.

It’s also possible the tank has sediment build-up getting into the water outlet.

9. Reheating Takes Too Long

Gas heaters normally reheat twice as fast as an electric water heater. Depending on the model, the reheat times will differ.

If you notice the electric heater is taking too long to reheat, then your heating elements or thermostat may be malfunctioning. It’s not difficult to replace those tank parts.

If it’s been a decade since you purchased your last electric water heater, then you need to consider purchasing a new model. Every year, new electric water heaters come out and have better reheating times.

A gas water heater that takes too long to produce hot water might need to be relocated to a better location. Water will cool if it has a long way to travel through the pipes.

10. Not Enough Hot Water

Are you getting some hot water but not enough to make you happy? The lack of hot water is almost always due to the thermostat.

The first solution is to just adjust the temperature. Electric water heaters usually hide the thermostat behind a panel. The thermostats are hidden in electric models because most are never meant to be changed.

If turning the thermostat doesn’t help, then check all the electrical components.

A gas water heater might not be giving you enough hot water because you have too many faucets or sources demanding the hot water.

Keep the Hot Water Coming

Don’t take cold showers or get stuck trying to wash the dishes without hot water. Make common water heater problems a part of your past.

If you have water heater plumbing problems that you can’t solve, contact the experts to help you today.

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