Water Heater Troubleshooting Tips
Water Heater Denver is the quiet workhorse of our homes. They’re usually out of sight and out of mind until you don’t have hot water.
Most traditional tank water heaters use electricity, natural gas, propane, heating oil, or solar energy to heat water on demand for home use. They’re generally located in a utility room or basement.
Several issues can cause water heaters to heat up too slowly or not at all. One of the most common problems is a thermostat that fails. This can lead to the hot water taking a long time to heat up, or it could result in dangerously high water temperatures when it is distributed. Another problem can be a loose wire that leads to the reset button tripping continuously. This is typically caused by corrosion and can be fixed by replacing the thermostat or gas control valve or burner assembly.
Most water heaters have two thermostats, an upper and a lower one. When the upper thermostat senses that the top of the tank is hot enough, it shuts down and transfers the power to the lower thermostat. If the upper thermostat fails, the system will fail to heat up at all. To check this, turn the power off to your water heater and use a multimeter to test for voltage at the point that connects the upper thermostat to the transfer switch. If you cannot get a reading, the upper thermostat is likely stuck closed and needs to be replaced.
If your water heater’s red reset button is constantly tripping, this can be due to a variety of problems including a broken heating element, loose wiring, corroded parts or a grounding issue. To fix this, you will need to replace the thermostat, reset the high limit switch or contact a professional for water heater repair in Phoenix.
You can also check your water heater thermostats with a non-contact voltage tester (NCV), which is less clear-cut and involves working around live wires. Turn off the power to your water heater, and then locate the screws that hold the electric access panel for each thermostat. With some caution, remove these panels and expose the electrical wiring that handles the water heater. Once you have shut off the power, disconnect the runner that connects the lower and upper thermostats (point T6). Wrap the exposed end with something insulating, such as a wire nut or electrical tape, and test for voltage with your NCV. If it reads a line voltage, the lower thermostat is also stuck closed and needs to be replaced.
If you’re experiencing sudden changes in hot water temperature, it’s important to understand the source of this issue. Fluctuating temperatures can be caused by several factors, including sediment build-up, thermostat problems, faulty heating elements, and pressure regulator failure. With proper maintenance and professional inspections, you can prevent these issues from impacting your home’s water supply and comfort.
When sediment builds up on your tank’s heating elements, it can cause them to overheat and shut down. Once the heating elements have cooled, they won’t work as efficiently, and your hot water will experience temperature fluctuations. This problem is easy to fix; just add a sock filled with alum to your heating element’s dip tube. This will remove sediment and prevent future mineral and scale build-up from disrupting your water heater’s function.
Another common issue causing fluctuating water temperature is a faulty gas valve. These valves can sometimes become stuck in a specific position due to general use or corrosion. If you notice your water heater’s dial is stuck in a certain setting, it’s recommended that you contact a licensed plumber to replace the valve assembly.
Keeping your water heater set to the correct temperature is crucial for energy efficiency, safety, and minimizing bacterial growth. Water temperatures over 120 degrees can result in scalding injuries, and if your water heater is set below 120, harmful bacteria like Legionella can start growing.
The hot water entering your tank comes through a dip tube, and the water exiting is heated by a top electric heating element. Power runs to both heating elements simultaneously, but the top element gets priority when it comes to heating the water that’s leaving. This can lead to the bottom heating element overheating and causing fluctuating hot water temperature.
When adjusting your water heater’s temperature, be sure to turn off the power to the unit before performing any manual adjustments. Then, locate the access panel on your water heater and gently peel back any insulation covering it (be careful not to rip this off!). With a screwdriver, you can now gain access to the thermostats and adjust them. Make sure that both thermostats are set to the same temperature and that their contacts are in full contact with the wall of the tank.
As the water inside your water heater warms, it expands. This expansion takes up space and creates pressure. Normally, some of this pressure escapes through the water pipes connected to your tank. However, if this doesn’t happen, the internal pressure in your water heater will build up to dangerous levels. This can cause damage to your hot water heater and other parts of your home’s plumbing.
If you have a water pressure gauge, regularly check it to see what your water heater’s internal pressure is. You can also buy a water pressure monitor at most hardware stores and home centers that will tell you in real time what the water pressure is throughout the day. A normal range is 50-60 psi.
You may be able to tell if your water heater has too much pressure when it starts leaking from the bottom or sides of its tank. If you have a new leak, the best thing to do is shut off your water heater’s power so the leaking can stop. Then, you can call a plumber to replace your water heater’s pressure relief valve.
The main problem that results from having too much pressure in your water heater is that it puts undue stress on the rest of your plumbing system. This can cause pipes to burst or leak. Additionally, it can reduce the lifespan of your water heater by causing it to work harder than it should.
Water hammers are a common issue caused by excessive water pressure. These are caused when a rapid, powerful liquid flow stops suddenly. This causes your pipes to pound against each other with force, eventually damaging them.
The most obvious sign of too much pressure is if your water heater produces hot water with a sputtering or hissing sound. Another sign is if you notice discolored water from your faucets or showerheads. If you notice any of these signs, call a plumber right away to investigate the issue. A professional will be able to accurately measure your water pressure and recommend solutions. These can include adjusting the thermostat, installing an expansion tank, or replacing your pressure relief valve.
If you hear a low rumbling sound or a whine that sounds like it might be coming from your water heater, the problem may be sediment build-up. The sediment can cause the bottom of the tank to overheat, causing the water inside to boil. This can lead to a ruptured tank, which can be very dangerous and require replacement.
The best way to fix this issue is by draining the sediment out of your tank. To do this, turn off the water and gas to your water heater and attach a garden hose to both the temperature and pressure relief valves on the bottom of the tank. Open the valves, and allow the water and sediment to drain out of your tank until it is empty. After the tank is drained, close the valves and replace the valve caps. Then turn the gas and water back on.
A dripping hot water heater is often caused by a corroded anode rod. The anode rod is designed to attract corrosive minerals in the water and keep them away from your water heater’s lining, but over time it can become so corroded that it is no longer effective. If you notice this issue, the rod will need to be replaced by a professional.
Leaks on the sides of your water heater are another sign that it is time to replace it. The leaks can be due to a cracked interior, damage from a power surge or simply age. It is important to call a professional for this work, as it will require turning off the water and gas and draining the tank.
Finally, if you are experiencing any of these issues or have noticed that your water is not hot enough, contact to schedule a water heater inspection. Our experienced plumbers are available to answer your questions and repair or replace your water heater 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can find us online or give us a call at any of our offices to talk to one of our friendly associates today.