Water Heater Problems

8 Common Water Heater Problems

8 Common Water Heater Problems (with simple solutions!)

Water heating is something we all need and water heaters are an essential appliance in any household, nobody wants to have a cold shower and we all like to nice and comfortable at home especially at winter time. Humans don’t like to be cold!!

However despite their reliability water heater problems can occur, some are simple fixes some are serious problems, for example it is very common for hot water heater leaking to occur.

There are 8 common problems on water heaters and this lens intends to describe general hot water heater problems and why they happen. It will also offer simple solutions and practical advice.

Remember if any doubt call a plumber or an expert.

Water is not warm enough

Problem Occurrence – Occasionally
Solution Difficulty – Easy to Medium

A very easy check is to see what setting you have your thermostat at. You should have it at around 110 -120 degrees Fahrenheit . This setting may be too low.

If it is not the thermostat then you will likely have a faulty thermocouple. For a skilled professional this is quite a simple job, if you do not have the skills then you should call a plumber, but take into consideration the condensing coil replacement cost in addition to the thermocouple.

tip: Get the plumber to service the rest of the water heater too.

Another possible solution you should try is cleaning the heater. You would have to sensibly drain the heater using a garden pipe. This will remove any impurities that lower the water heater’s efficiency.

There is a video near the bottom of this article that will help you in draining the heater.

tip 2: Insulate the water heater and surrounding pipes. Not only will that increase the efficiency of the water heater it will also save money.

Water is too warm

Relief ValveProblem Occurrence – Rare
Solution Difficulty – Easy to Medium

Firstly you should check your thermostat , it should be set at around 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

This problem is often caused by a faulty pressure relief valve.

You should know that the pressure relief valve is critical for the safety of the water heater. If pressure cannot be relieved the heater has the potential to be a bomb! This could turn out to be easiest to fix water heater problems.

Water takes a long time to heat up

Problem Occurrence – Rare
Solution Difficulty – Medium

This can be a difficult problem to pin point a solution or why it actually happens.
There are two usual suspects. One is that the water heater has poor ventilation, this makes for incomplete burning inside the tank, you should be advised to call a problem if you suspect this is the case.

A more common reason is that there are mineral depositions in the tank. This happens if you happen to live in a hard water area. You will be advised to drain and clean the tank.

Pilot Light Problems

This is a common gas water heater problem! If you have an electric heater this does not apply.

Problem Occurrence – Common
Solution Difficulty – Medium

If the pilot light is refusing to stay lit then there is usually a problem with the thermocouple. Generally speaking this will need replacing by a qualified technician. It is a very inexpensive fix though ($20) if you have the confidence to attempt this yourself. Most water heaters come with instructions to help you.

Strange Noises Coming from the Water Heater

Problem Occurrence – Quite rare
Solution Difficulty – Easy-ish

Hot water heater problems like this can give you a nasty fright and make you think that your water heater has a serious problem. BUT this is not actually the case.

This is caused by dirt and mineral build up in the water heater. They rest at the bottom and when they get heated they make that banging noise that gave you the fright of your life.

To solve this you should drain your water heater. You can see a review roundup of articles to understand how to do this.

You should also get it serviced as it is possible that the anode rod needs replacing (the anode rod basically stops your water heater rusting)

Strange Water Smell

Problem Occurrence – Either never or often (depending on many factors like location or brand of water heater)
Solution Difficulty – Difficult

The smell is caused by hydrogen sulfide. This occurs when certain bacteria in the water heater react with the anode rod in the tank.

A common solution offered is to replace the anode rod with another one. Most older water heaters have magnesium or aluminum anode rods. These react with the bacteria to cause the smells. To have a permanent solution you have to install an aluminum/zinc alloy anode rode. However that does involves some cost.

A quicker cheaper solution is to put some hydrogen peroxide in the water heater. If the smell is coming from one place, put some hydrogen peroxide down that plug hole.

(this problem can be complex!)

Funny Colored Water

Problem Occurrence – Very Rare
Solution Difficulty – Medium (but costly)

If the water is coming out rusty colored this suggests that corrosion is taking place inside your water heater. This can be the first sign of failure so it would best to call a few different California plumbers and get a quote from each.

Water Heater Leaking

Problem Occurrence – Occisonally
Solution Difficulty – Easy to Difficult

This really requires an article of its own, if you want more detailed information go to this water heater leaking article as that is very in depth and covers most of the problems and solutions!

How To Drain Your Water Heater Video

This is a useful video to show what you need to do when draining your water heater- it really is a simple process so follow the video here and you will be fine. Remember it is very beneficial to drain your heater unless of course you have one of the best tankless water heaters!