What are the Most Common Hot Water Issues During the Winter?

What are the Most Common Hot Water Issues During the Winter?

The worst time for your water heater is between December and January when the chilly weather forces it to work harder than usual just to give you a warm bath. For this reason, most experts recommend that you schedule your annual professional maintenance right before the cold season starts to make sure it won’t die on you in the dead of Winter. 

Related article: Water Heater Maintenance Tips for Fall and Winter Season


Remember, if you skimp on water heater service and maintenance and don’t flush your water heater regularly – the usual recommendation is every six months or more if you have an extreme case of “hard water” – you may end up with these problems: 



Lack of regular maintenance and cleaning causes your water heater to work more than usual, which increases the chance of it breaking down. Also, keep an eye on the pilot control valve and the thermocouple, which are components prone to malfunction if they get too cold. 


Other components that are prone to winter-related malfunctions include the heating elements and thermostat (for electric water heaters) and the pilot light (for gas-powered heaters). 


Water too hot 

If your heater makes your water too hot even though the temperature setting shows otherwise, the problem most likely stems from a blocked pressure relief valve, water with high mineral content, or a malfunctioning thermostat or heater element. 


While it may be tempting to DIY yourself out of this problem, it’s better left for a professional because it poses a risk of serious burns, especially if you have small children whose skin burns far more easily than adult skin. Additionally, extreme water temperature is usually a sign that the water heater is overheating, which may leak or even burst. 


Cracked pipes

When the pipes get too cold, the pressure builds up and may cause them to crack and leak. This is why it’s important to insulate your pipes if you live in a region that experiences extreme temperatures during the winter. 


Pipes exposed to hot temperatures are best insulated with fiberglass, while cold water pipelines are more suited for foam and rubber insulation materials. 


Preventing Water Heater Issues Caused by Freezing Temperatures

If you regularly flush your water heater system, you improve its energy efficiency. Take note that when there’s a buildup of calcium and other minerals at its bottom, the heating elements work more than usual; this results in more expensive energy bills and a higher chance of component failure.  

Related article: Why Should I Flush My Water Heater (And How Often Should I Do This)?


It also makes sense to wrap your water heater with an insulating material to protect it from cold. Not only do you prevent cold-related damage, but you also improve its energy efficiency, which means lower energy bills. 


If you have a gas-powered water heater, fiberglass wrap and aluminum foil tape are the ideal insulation materials, while for an electric water heater, it’s the neoprene foam. 


Another thing to keep in mind is that some issues like fluctuating water temperatures always call for a water heater repair expert. Oftentimes, these are signs of overheating and component failure, which needs immediate replacement to prevent serious burns. 


If you need Rocklin Water Heaters installation, repair, and maintenance services, visit Patrick’s Hot Water or call (916) 824-5131. We deal with all types and brands of water heaters and systems and even offer emergency repairs and replacement.