Water Heater Troubleshooting Tips


A storage water heater is a generally reliable unit, but any piece of equipment can have issues and losing hot water is an inconvenience no one wants. Before you call a professional, here are a few tips to help you narrow down the problem. You still might not be able to fix your water heater on your own, but you will at least be able to describe the problem if you do have to call for services.

  • No Hot Water–With an electric water heater, check the circuit breaker that supplies power to the unit. If it is tripped, return it to the “on” position. Stay at the electrical panel and if the circuit trips again, leave it off and call a plumber. Electrical elements and thermostats can go bad. If you are handy with a tester, check both the upper and lower elements after turning off the electricity to the unit. Electric heaters have an amperage and voltage that can be lethal, so use caution. On gas heaters, check the pilot light. If the water heater fuel is natural gas, try to light the pilot light (unless it is a self-igniting unit) and see if it stays on. If not, the problem could be a thermocouple, which regulates the gas supply, or a faulty gas valve.
  • Leaking Unit–If the unit is leaking, carefully check to see if it is coming from the tank or a connection to the tank. Tighten any leaking connections slowly and carefully or call a professional. If the water is coming from the tank, the issue may be simple condensation or it may be an actual leak. Condensation will stop after a short period of time. Leaking will not.
  • Sediment Issues–Minerals in the water will settle to the bottom of a tank. In electric heaters, a large amount of this can burn out the lower heating element. In either gas or electric, sediment can damage the tank. Drain the tank yearly to eliminate this problem.

When you have water heater problems, call on our certified plumbing specialists at Rodenhiser. We can get to the problem quickly and have your water heater working again.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Solutions Guide.

Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning serves the Route 495/128 area of Massachusetts. To get started, check out our website or see our current promotions.

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