A water heater problem is never a good sign, especially since it is not an appliance that can easily be done without.
Since the problems that can arise are as numerous as they are diverse, let’s take the time to see how to resolve those that are most likely to occur.
Here is a summary of the 10 most common water heater problems and the solutions allowing you to remedy them.
Water heater problems: how to fix them
1. There is no more hot water
If you are unable to access hot water, your thermostat may be the source of the problem. If you notice that it is defective, replace it (or both if necessary).
If you are no longer able to have hot water, first check that the temperature limiter is not involved. To do this, interrupt the power supply to your water heater. Carefully, remove the panel allowing access to the heating element. Remove the insulation, the element cover and weigh on reset.
Does nothing happen? Test the power supply to your device with a multimeter. If there is nothing to indicate that it is the source of the problem, it is probably that your temperature limiter is damaged and that it therefore accidentally tripped.
In this case, it will need to replace your water heater immediately. Know that this is a small project that you can do by yourself.
For a problem with the power supply to your device, call on the expertise of a professional. During your inspection, take the trouble to observe the interior of your water heater. If it is wet, it will, unfortunately, have to be replaced.
2. The circuit breaker trips
If the circuit breaker on your water heater trips constantly, it may not be properly connected to the electrical panel. To resolve this problem, you will, unfortunately, have no choice but to call on a certified electrician.
This will have to redo the wiring of your water heater, which is a job to be reserved for a professional.
3. The pilot light of your water heater always goes out
Do you have a gas water heater and its pilot keeps on going out? In this type of situation, it is strongly recommended that you call a technician so that he can inspect your device.
Indeed, you should know that the gas water heater has a large number of parts and that it can, therefore, be difficult for someone who is not an expert in the field to find which of them is defective.
For your information, be aware that this may indicate a problem with the thermocouple. Since its role is to interrupt the gas supply if the pilot goes out, an absence of an interruption in your supply and the concomitant presence of an extinguished pilot indicates a problem with it.
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Note that a professional could recommend that you install a hood directly above your tank and a deflector near your pilot to protect the flame.
Finally, note that it is not impossible that the gas control is defective or that the pilot line is blocked. Another possibility is that your drainage system is problematic.
If the latter uses the same ducts as your exhaust system, this may explain that your pilot light goes out. The idea that your water heater shares the same ducts as your drain is certainly not the best.
4. Water is leaking
Is water leaking from your water heater? In this case, care should be taken to repair the safety valve or else install a new one. If you already have one and it doesn’t seem broken, then too much pressure inside the tank is likely to be the cause. To lower it, lower the water temperature to 130 degrees.
5. Your tap is not waterproof
If water leaks are caused by the lack of tightness of your tap, it is strongly advised to replace it for a brand new one. You could also try tightening your faucet with pliers, although this is not always a solution that is effective enough to remedy the problem.
6. Your water is not hot enough
If your water is not hot enough, you should first consider the easiest solution to remedy it: simply increase the temperature. Indeed, if the temperature of your water heater is below 120 degrees, it should be increased to 130.
Is the temperature not inadequate? Press the reset button on your water heater. If this second option does not resolve the situation, start by observing the pipes off it.
Are they isolated? If this is not the case, then get self-adhesive foam insulation and install it on your pipes. To avoid going back and forth to your home improvement store, assess the diameter of your pipes before you go there. This way you can be sure you are buying the right size insulation.
If neither of these two suggestions applies to your situation, consider examining the heating element, which is possibly defective.
If this is the case, you should not rule out the possibility that your temperature limiter has accidentally tripped or that your thermostats or your dip tube are damaged. It will then be necessary to replace them or call a professional who will take care of them.
7. Your water smells bad
Regardless of whether you have a gas or electric water heater, you may notice a strange odour emanating from your water. After the moment of disgust, you will probably be in a hurry to fix this annoying problem, to say the least.
Since the culprits to be singled out are anaerobic bacteria, the problem will have to be solved at the source and eliminated. To do this, first, close the cold water supply and then open the hot water tap. Doing so will release the pressure inside your pipes. Once this step is completed, then empty the tank. Then open your piping on one side and pour inside the hydrogen peroxide. Close it all and replenish your pipes with water.
8. Does your water heater no longer turn off?
If your water heater no longer turns off and heats up perpetually, several situations can explain it. First, your thermostat may be broken or may not be properly connected to your water heater.
Is the thermostat not defective and is it properly connected? It is not impossible that your water heater has become too small to meet the needs of your large household. In this case, you will probably be advised to purchase a larger water heater.
9. Your water is way too hot
As we previously mentioned, 130 degrees is the ideal temperature for your water heater. If you exceed this, the water will become much too hot. You will then have to readjust the thermostat of your water heater, taking care to interrupt the power supply first.
Also, your thermostat may not detect the correct temperature and therefore may need to be replaced. Again, if you are not comfortable with this type of project, consider using a certified repairer.
10. The water heater is rusty
As you can imagine, rust is the number one enemy of your water heater. Unfortunately, it is impossible to keep a water heater that shows signs of corrosion. Since deterioration is inevitable, you will have no option but to replace it.
Some important caveats
Before starting any water heater repair project, always shut down your water heater. In the second step, take care to consult the manufacturer’s recommendations to correctly carry out the required repairs.
Also, be aware that some work on this type of device must be done by professionals, while others require the possession of a permit.
Repairing a gas water heater
As you probably already know, repairing a gas water heater has its dangers, including that of causing an explosion.
This is not a situation to be taken lightly, which brings us to our recommendation to do business with a professional to make the necessary repairs.