Common Water Heater Problems

Four Common Signs of Water Heater Malfunction

You never realize how much of a luxury instant cold and hot water is until something is off about your water.

If you step into the shower expecting scalding hot water, and instead you’re greeted with a chilling surprise – you’re going to have some questions about your water heater. Maybe there’s a suspicious puddle next to it, or even worse – the liquid coming out of your faucet is smelly, yellow, rusty, or brown. In any case, your water heater isn’t working right. Here are some explanations for the most common water heater problems.

  1. Lack of Hot WaterImage of hot and cold water spouts

What is the point of a water heater if the water coming out is cold? One of the most common issues with a water heater is also the most annoying issue– it is not heating your water. There are a couple of reasons this could be happening, so don’t throw out your heater yet.

It is likely that one of the heating mechanisms in your water heater is broken or malfunctioning. There could also be an interruption of power to the heater, meaning a breaker tripped or a fuse was blown. Even still, your water could be cold because the thermostat on the appliance is set wrong or faulty.

All of these problems are easily fixable when the right plumber is on hand, so call a reliable plumbing company to make sure you aren’t left in the cold.

  1. Dirty Water

Rust-colored water is a sign that your water heater is rusting inside, corroding away. There is a piece inside your water heater called an “anode rod,” and its purpose is to prevent rust from collecting in your tank. It is possible that your water heater is old and needs to be replaced, but it is just as likely that replacing the anode rod will turn your water clear again.

If the water coming out is dirty, not rusty, it may be because sediment is finding a way into your hot water outlet.

  1. Smelly Water

Water that has an odor is due to bacteria! Seriously, bacteria love hot, wet climates, so a water heater is a perfect place for bacteria to thrive. As bacteria die and decompose, they emit hydrogen gasses that smell like rotten eggs.

Remember that anode rod that deters rust? It also decreases the number of bacteria in your water heater, so it may need replacing if your water smells. If you need a quick fix, increasing the thermometer to 140 degrees Fahrenheit should kill off some bacteria. At Central Plumbing, we can flush out your water heater, and we can replace the anode rod if need be.

  1. Water LeakImage of hands washing dishes

A water leak could mean that there are some loose valves, but it could also mean that it’s time for a new water heater. It all depends on where the water is leaking from.

If water is leaking from the top of the water heater, check the cold and hot water pipe connections to make sure they are not loose. In addition, the temperature and pressure relief valve or heating element gasket could be loose, but you should call a plumber to inspect this for you. Handling these parts could result in burns or other injuries if you are not properly trained.

If the heater is leaking from the bottom, it could be due to condensation. Condensation is a normal process that can be fixed by turning up the thermostat. The leak may be caused by tank over-pressurization or a loose drain valve too. Both of these issues, again, should be examined by a professional.

If your water heater is leaking from anywhere that is not a connection to or from the heater, the heater is most likely corroding. You should look to get a replacement – before a 30 or 60-gallon water tank drains into your house.

[Related: How to Choose Which Type of Water Heater You Need]

All of these water heater problems cause much frustration, but the experts at Central Plumbing are trained and ready to take that stress off of your shoulders. Catching a minor water heater problem early before it grows will save you money and time by preventing you from having to replace your water heater. At Central Plumbing, we are certified to repair and replace all water heater brands. We will get your water heater repaired quickly, and if you need a new one, we’ll make the installation process painless.

Call Central Plumbing for your water heater needs, big or small.

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