3 Ways to troubleshoot hot water problems

Hot Water Problems


Taking a bath should be a relaxing experience. It’s where you ought to cleanse your body, and even your mind. But what if an important element is missing? What if there’s suddenly no hot water? Nobody wants to take a shower under cold water especially not when it’s winter.

If you feel like you’re running into a hot water problem, chances are you have to look into the parts of your water heater. It may sound intimidating, but procedures are mostly straightforward and easy to follow. Replacement parts are also available in most hardware stores and are usually inexpensive.

Ready to start troubleshooting? Here are 3 of the most common water heater problems and how to fix them.

  • No hot water

Depending on the type of your water heater, gas or electric, troubleshooting ways may vary.

For gas water heaters:

  • Check if you have no gas. Make sure that the gas is turned on and the valve is in the open position.
  • Check your unit’s pilot light. The pilot light makes sure there’s flame available for when the burner needs to start heating water. If your gas flow is on, but the pilot light isn’t lit, check out the followings components:
    • There might be air in the line. Check the gas flow and relight the pilot several times to flush out air in the line.
    • Defective gas valve. This prevents gas from reaching the burner or pilot. Replace the valve with a new one since they’re irreparable.
    • Defective supply line. Clogs and bends in the gas line may cause intermittent heating. Replace these lines immediately.
    • Dirty burner. A burner clogged with soot may cause improper heating. Take out the part and clean it.

For electric water heaters:

  • Check for water leaks. Tank leaks mean your water heater must be replaced. But first, check if there are only loose elements that need tightening or replacing before purchasing a new system.
  • Check for grounded parts. Failed heating elements, thermostats, and foreign objects shorting across wires may cause ground. Remove the foreign objects, or replace the thermostats and heating elements. Whichever is causing the problem.
  • Short circuits. Scratched or frayed wires are dangerous. They could lead to a short and even cause a fire. Replace defective wiring immediately.
  • Weak Circuit Breaker. Breakers may fail over time. If this happens, replace the breaker.
  • Water temperature is not hot enough

If you’re sure that the unit is functioning but you’re still experiencing this trouble, you may need to check and replace some components.

  • Check the thermostat. If the temperature is set correctly but the heat being delivered isn’t on point, then your thermostat may need replacing.
  • Check the heating elements. Over time, sediments may build up on the heating elements. This causes water to heat incorrectly. Replacement elements are usually inexpensive and easy to install.
  • Check for loose wires. Turn off the power in the unit and check that all wires and connections are tight and not corroded.
  • Check your tank for leaks. A leak may prevent your water from reaching the right temperature. Verify that the leak is coming from your tank and if it is, the only solution is to replace the water heater.
  • Water heater is leaking

If you see that there’s water pooling at the base of your tank, you may have a leak.

  • Check if water is leaking from the pipes. If it is coming from the pipes that are supplying water, immediately shut off your entire house’s water supply.
  • Next, check to see if leaks are coming from the hot water tank. Water heaters deteriorate over time and it could be that there’s corrosion in your tank. If this happens, replace your water heater as soon as possible.
  • Sometimes the leak can come from the heating element gasket. For electric water heaters, leaks can come from the heating element. If this happens, turn off your power, shut down your water supply, and drain all the water from the heater. Then replace the problematic gasket with a new one. After that, make sure to release air from the water heater tank as this could break your heating element. Do this by turning on the water supply to your heater, then running some hot water into your sink.

bath and bath products

Maintaining a water heater should not be a big deal if you know how to fix and perform some checks. Knowing the important parts of your unit and how to control them are definitely helpful.

This is a collaborative post

1 Comment

  1. Caitlin 30th May 2017 at 12:22 pm

    This is a great post! Calling in professional help can be costly and take a lot of time and hassle so it’s great to get a fundamental knowledge on basic plumbing so you can be confident enough to fix things yourself! It can sound a little daunting but this post is really informative and explains heating problems in a simple way; hopefully, it’ll save people a lot of time in the future!

Don't be shy, come and talk to me! :o)

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