Water Heater Issues
Every homeowner is grateful for the water heater. It’s nice to be able to turn on the faucet and like magic, we almost immediately have hot water at our access. Before the invention of the water heater, water was heated with fire or was made from other natural resources such as hot springs or natural gas. Every time somebody needed to bathe or wash dishes, they would have heat water over a fire.
And then, Edwin Rudd invented an automatic storage water heater in 1889, and it has become the water heater unit we know today. Now, water is heated by the process of heat transfers from a source of energy to the tank, where the water is waiting for us when we turn that faucet on.
But what do we do when the water heater quits? We can either replace it, which is most homeowners do, or we can call a professional for hot water heater repair. Before servicing the water heater, the technician can advise if water heater repair or replacement of the unit is the best choice.
What Would Cause a Hot Water Heater to Stop Working?
Is there anything worse than to jump into the shower and have that warm water turn cold? Or running a bath and the water takes forever to get hot? If you have experienced either of these, then you already know, that often indicates a water heater problem. But do you have any idea what could have happened that made it quit working?
Some of the reasons that a water heater quits working are:
- Pilot light – this applies only to gas water heaters. This is an easy and simple fix too! First check to see if the pilot light is still lit and if not, follow the instructions in the owner’s manual and relight it.
- Gas line leak – Again, this applies to gas water heater s only. If you smell gas leaking around the water heater, recognized as a rotten egg odor, then turn the gas off immediately and call a professional plumber.
- Heating element – Often the heating element will go out and this can be fixed by replacing the element. Once a water heater has reached 10 years lifespan, replacing it is the best solution.
- Sediment buildup – Over time, a build-up of water contaminants is created at the bottom of a water heater and become hard. This will reduce its ability to heat enough water. By draining your water heater regularly, this can be prevented. If the water is hard where you live, adding a water softening agent to your home’s water supply can help prevent this as well. However, if the water heater is old and the tank has become rusty, that buildup cannot be removed, and the only solution is to replace the unit.
- The thermostat – Check the unit’s thermostat if it seems as though the hot water you are getting is not as hot as it used to be. If it appears to have been lowered, try increasing, give the water time to heat up and then run the water again to see if it gets hot quicker. If not, this indicates the thermostat is not working properly and needs to be replaced.
Your home is your biggest investment, and just like your concrete driveway or roofing, the electrical and plumbing systems are a major part of that investment. Calling a professional plumber to repair or replace your water heater can protect your investment ensuring you have hot water for years to come.
Can a Water Heater Be Repaired?
It depends on the problem and the age of the water heater. Like any other appliance in your home, it’s lifespan can be extended with regular maintenance. And there are some repairs you can do to keep a water heater working as well, like replacing the heating element or the pressure-relief valve. It can also be an electrical problem if the water heater isn’t working properly, check for a blown fuse or tripped breaker. It may not be a water heater failure at all.
When is a water heater beyond repair? By the time a water heater reaches the age of 8 to 12 years according to most manufacturers, it has lived up to its life expectancy. How long a water heater lasts is dependent upon several factors:
- Installation Quality
- Maintenance Schedule
- Water Quality
So, if it quits heating water, is erratic in heating, or starts leaking, replacement is recommended. Or if it is older than 10 or 12 years, you may want to consider having your water heater replaced for energy-saving purpose.
What Trips the Reset Button on a Hot Water Heater?
The reset button on a water heater is there for safety. When the temperature inside the unit reaches over 180 degrees Fahrenheit, it automatically shuts the water heater off. So, what can cause this to happen? Here are four of the most common reasons a water heater reset button trips:
The thermostat is how the water temperature inside the tank is measured and determines when the heating element should shut off. When a thermostat quits or gets stuck, it won’t turn the heating element off or on and will either not heat the water at all or, won’t quit heating it. In either case, the thermostat needs to be replaced.
A loose electrical connection is hazardous regardless of where it is, and with a water heater, a loose electrical connection will trigger the reset button.
Power will keep flowing even when there is a short in the heating element, even if the thermostat has shut off its power. In this case, the heating element will keep heating the water, and thus, trip the reset button.
Bad Reset Button
With normal wear and tear, all a water heater’s parts will eventually stop working, including the reset button. When any of the parts are not working to full capacity, it will trip the reset button continually, no matter the temperature inside the tank. A reset button is part of the water heater’s thermostat and when it goes bad, it can, and should, be replaced.
So, how can you determine what is causing the reset button to trip? This can be a dangerous and tricky thing to diagnose because of the 240 volts of electric power running to the water heater. It is highly recommended that you call a professional plumber to check your water heater. They have the experience and knowledge of working with the electrical, plumbing and wiring of a water heater.
Do Plumbers Fix Hot Water Heaters?
When you have a water heater issue, it may lie in the electronic components, plumbing components, or fuel components. If the issues with your water heater indicate it is the electrical system within your home, an electrician is needed. Those problems could be one of the following:
- The circuit breaker for the water heater keeps tripping
- The fuse keeps blowing or overheating
- There is loose wiring to the water heater
Indication when to call a plumber would be:
- An unusually noisy water heater
- Rusty water
- Hot water pressure decreases
- Water doesn’t heat up
- A Leaky water heater
- For a gas water heater, the pilot light won’t stay lit
Is It Dangerous to Have a Leaking Water Heater?
If a leaky water heater is left untreated, it can cause more than just an inconvenience of no hot water. Your home could be severely damaged by the issues affecting your water heater. Flooding alone could damage things like your floor, furniture, walls, and personal belongings. These damages could amount to thousands of dollars of repairs and lost items.
The exact danger of leaking water heater can be deadly, such as pressure building up in the water heater because the pressure relief valve doesn’t work. Faulty water heaters can cause carbon monoxide leaks, fire hazards, or scalding risks. Never gamble with the safety of your family and home – if the water heater is malfunctioning in any way, seek professional help immediately.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this piece, the water heater we have today has made life easier. With a properly working water heater, we no longer must gather wood for the fire and put a pot of water on to heat up. We simply turn the hot water faucet on and poof, we have hot water in a matter of minutes. Because this appliance gives us so much convenience, it is an important part of our everyday lives. Give it the attention and care it deserves by calling a professional plumber, or electrician is the best care you give a water heater. For water heater repair in Pittsburgh, PA, dial 412-561-3624 today.