Purchasing a Water Heater

8 Practical Ways to Troubleshoot Your Water Heater

Have you ever wondered why your water heater isn’t functioning properly? So often, we find ourselves at a loss when diagnosing the issues with our water heaters. However, with some basic knowledge of how these appliances work, you can save a few bucks and fix minor problems yourself. Also, remember that only some issues require a plumber and unnecessary calls can be avoided. In this post, we will discuss eight practical ways to troubleshoot your water heater, potentially saving you the cost of a professional.

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Thermostat Settings on Your Water Heater and Fuel Source

The thermostat on your water heater controls the temperature of the water. The water may only reach the desired hotness if the temperature is high enough. To check the thermostat settings, locate the thermostat on your heater and use a thermometer to verify the temperature setting. Adjust it accordingly if necessary.

Water heaters run by either gas or electricity. Ensure that the fuel source is functioning properly. Your water heater will only be able to produce hot water if there is fuel or with a clear supply. For gas-powered heaters, turn on the gas supply. If your heater is electric, ensure the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped, and you have a secured power cord plugged in.

Check the Pilot Light and Water Supply

If your water heater has a pilot light, it must be ignited for the heater to produce hot water. Locate the pilot light and check for a small flame. Some heaters have a small window for this purpose. If the pilot light is off, consult the owner’s manual for instructions on relighting it. Check the electronic ignition systems for error messages or indicators to ensure they function properly.

A sufficient water supply can prevent your heater from producing hot water. First, locate the inlet valve and ensure it is fully open. Additionally, you can use a gauge to check the water pressure and ensure it falls within the recommended range.

Navian Tankless Water heater

Heating Element and Pressure Relief Valve

The heating element is responsible for heating the water inside your heater. The water won’t reach the desired temperature if it is not functioning properly. Securely fasten the heating element and ensure correct installation if it is removable. Use a multimeter to test the element for continuity.

The temperature and pressure relief valve is a safety feature that releases excess pressure and temperature. If this valve is malfunctioning, it can cause your heater to malfunction or even lead to dangerous situations. Locate the valve on your water heater and ensure it is not blocked or obstructed. To test its functionality, slowly lift the lever and verify that it operates smoothly.

Troubleshoot Your Water Heater for Leaks

Leaks around your water heater can cause malfunctions or even complete failure. Check for damp spots around the base and on any pipes or connections. If you discover a leak, address it immediately to prevent further damage.

Consider the Age of Your Water Heater

If your heater is over 10-15 years old, consider replacing it. They become less efficient and more prone to problems as they age. Upgrading to a newer model can improve performance and reduce the likelihood of future issues.

Regular Maintenance is Necessary

In addition to troubleshooting your heater, prioritize regular maintenance to keep your appliance functioning optimally. Performing routine maintenance can help prevent future problems and extend the lifespan of your water heater. 

Routine Maintenance Tasks

  1. Flushing the Tank: Sediment buildup can occur over time, affecting the efficiency of your water heater. By flushing the tank annually, you can remove sediment and mineral deposits, allowing your heater to operate more efficiently and reducing the risk of damage.
  2. Inspecting Anode Rod: The anode rod helps prevent corrosion inside the storage tank. Inspect the anode rod every few years and replace it if it’s heavily corroded. This simple step can significantly extend its life.
  3. Checking Pressure Relief Valve: The pressure relief valve is a vital safety feature. Test it periodically by opening the valve and allowing some water to discharge. A replacement can fix the leak if the valve doesn’t release water or leaks continuously.
  4. Insulating the Pipes: Adding insulation to your hot water pipes can help prevent heat loss and reduce energy consumption. Insulating the pipes can ensure hot water reaches your faucets faster, reducing waiting time and water wastage.
  5. Regular Inspections: Schedule regular inspections by a professional plumber to assess the overall condition of your water heater. A professional can identify potential issues early on and recommend necessary repairs or replacements.

By incorporating these maintenance tasks into your routine, you can promote the longevity and efficient operation of your heater. Remember, prevention is key, and taking proactive steps to maintain your water heater can save you from costly repairs and unexpected breakdowns in the future.

Knowing When to Call a Plumbing Professional

While one can troubleshoot most heater issues, there are instances where it’s best to call a professional plumbing company. For example, if you hear strange sounds from your heater, notice rusting, or experience low hot water pressure, these could be signs that your water heater needs replacing. In such cases, contact your local plumbing company for assistance.

When All Else Fails, Call Murrieta Plumbing Experts

Before calling a plumber, you can follow these practical steps to troubleshoot your water heater. By systematically addressing each potential problem, you can identify and fix the issue. However, if you need help to resolve the problem or feel uncertain about what to do, it is always best to call a professional.

And again, if you read this and your heater works properly, be proactive and follow the maintenance guide to keep it well maintained. Avoid the unnecessary expense of a faulty water heater. Murrieta Plumbing can walk you through those steps as well.

Contact Murrieta Plumbing

Murrieta Plumbing has a team of skilled and experienced plumbers ready to assist you with all your water heater needs. Whether you require repairs, maintenance, or a new installation, our experts have the knowledge and expertise to do the job right. So don’t let a faulty heater disrupt your daily routine. Instead, contact us today, and let us help you restore your hot water supply.

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