Common Water Heater Problems: Why Your Water Heater Is Not Working

For those who cannot live without warm baths, the water heater is their holy grail. It is an everyday appliance that usually does not get much attention unless there are problems with it.

In general, there are two types of water heaters based on their source of energy, electric and gas. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types, and this article highlights the most common water heater problems for every household.

Problem #1: Low-pressure hot water

Typically, this problem happens to older model houses installed with small water heater galvanized piping, and because of its size, water pressure is limited. Consider replacing your old pipe with modern ¾ inch piping to allow more water to flow through the pipes.

Sometimes, sediment, calcium-deposits, and rust build-up inside sink aerators cause the low water flow. To clean the aerators, unscrew it from the sink and use vinegar to soak it overnight. In the morning, put it back and turn on the faucet to check if the water pressure is right.

Problem #2: You either get cold water or it’s too hot

When your heater does not deliver the right temperature, it’s most likely connected to the thermostat. The best way to solve this is by adjusting the setting of the thermostat. Remember to always turn off the heater first before conducting any adjustments.

If the water still comes out cold or too hot after several adjustments, a blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker may be causing it. Try switching the breaker back on and check if the water heater is properly working.

Problem #3: Hot water smells like sulfur or rotten eggs

In case both the cold and hot water comes out smelly, the water source is the problem. However, if the smelly water only comes when you use the water heater, it is a sign that your tank is infected with bacteria. The smell is easily solved with a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide. Fill the tank with the solution and let it sit for at least two hours before flushing it out with clean water. If the smell persists, call a plumber to check your water heater.

Problem #4: Heater making noises

Sediment build-up causes water heater to make noises. To stop the noises from your water heater, you need to flush out the water heater thoroughly. First, empty the tank and let cold water in through the intake until it is half full. After that, remove the water through the drain valve. The stream of the cold water rinses the sediment inside the tank. Repeat this process until the sediment build-up clears up.

To prevent this from happening again, you can install a water softener in the tank. The water softener stops sediment from building up in your tank.

Problem #5: Dirty and rust-colored water

Untreated sediment build-up and corrosion in either anode rod or the water heater tank itself are the possible reasons why there is discoloration or dirty water from your tank. To fix this, check which part of the water heater has corrosion and replace those parts before the tank starts to develop a leak.

Problem #6: Water heater leaks

If you notice water leaks around your tank, turn it off and drain it to stop the leak completely. The common causes of water heater leaks are damaged valves and plumbing connections, faulty tanks, and loose pipes. It is better to call a plumber to assist you when this happens to prevent further damage.

A Final Word

As with any appliance, prevention is better than cure. The most effective way to avoid these problems is to practice proper water heater maintenance.

Sources: