Whether your Water Heater Repair is gas or electric, there are several problems that can occur. Most of these can be repaired by a plumber, but some, like a tripped circuit breaker or the element, require a licensed electrician.
If your unit is gas, you can try reigniting the pilot light yourself (provided you follow all safety precautions). This may fix your problem temporarily.
If you notice a pool of water around your hot water tank, this is typically a sign of a leak. Leaks can be caused by a variety of things, but it’s best to have your plumber take a look.
The first place to check is the cold and hot water inlet and outlet pipes. These are the pipes that bring water into the heater to be heated and then out into your home when you need it. If the connections are loose, you may be able to tighten them with a pipe wrench.
Another common cause of leaks is a faulty temperature and pressure relief valve, also known as the T&P valve. This safety device is designed to release excess pressure in the tank by spraying water out of a discharge tube directed at the ground. If this is leaking, it will need to be replaced.
The upper and lower thermostats are what turns the heating element on and off to maintain your hot water temperature. If the upper thermostat goes bad you won’t have any hot water. The reset button, also called a high-limit switch is designed to prevent your water from exceeding 180 degrees Fahrenheit. If it continuously trips this could be an indication the thermostat is bad and needs replaced.
Before working on your water heater make sure the power is turned off using a voltage tester or breaker. Then remove the access panel, insulation and plastic safety cover on both the upper and lower element/thermostat areas of your electric water heater. Use a wire diagram to locate the proper connections and remove the power wires.
With the power still disconnected, open the lower heating element cover and check continuity between terminals 1 & 2. Place one of your meter probes on each terminal. You should see near zero ohms of resistance.
Dip Tube Issues
The dip tube on a water heater works to keep a steady supply of hot water flowing. When it breaks, cold water is pushed up to the top of the tank and mixed with the hot water supply. This can significantly reduce the water temperature.
One of the most common signs of a dip tube issue is noticing lukewarm or even cold water coming from your showers and appliances. The problem can also be spotted by finding small pieces of plastic clogging your faucet aerators and appliance inlet screens.
If you notice any of these problems, it is important to turn off the power to your water heater and remove the dip tube. This is typically done by unscrewing the nipple for the cold water pipe connector and the dip tube itself. After removing the old dip tube, replace it with a cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) tube. It is important to turn the power back on after a new dip tube has been installed.
Pressure Valve Issues
Your gas or electric water heater’s temperature and pressure valve (T&P) is a safety feature designed to keep the pressure inside of your tank under safe levels. When the water cools and expands, it creates a great deal of pressure inside your tank. Your T&P valve opens to let a little bit of the superfluous water drain out, releasing some of this pressure and keeping it under control.
Your T&P valve can fail for one of three reasons: excessive temperatures, excess pressure, or a malfunctioning valve. You can check if your T&P valve is malfunctioning by running a few fixtures and making sure the hot water runs out of all of them, then turning off your water heater.
If your T&P valve is leaking, it will need to be replaced. If it is rattling or emitting high-pitched whistling sounds, it’s likely that the valve is failing to release excess pressure and could be dangerous. It’s best to have a professional take a look at the situation and make a recommendation for you.