12Are you trying to figure out whether you need water heater repair? This article will provide some basic troubleshooting tips for you. Of course, we always recommend regular maintenance of your water heater. That way, you can identify potential problems before they even arise. However, sometimes this may not be enough, and you might run into an issue that you hadn’t foreseen.
 
Water heaters generally last between 8 to 12 years. So if your water heater is approaching the end of its life, you may need to consider getting a new one.  However, don’t jump straight to replacement – many problems are quite simple to solve if you know what to look for. Learning how to check for the most common problems first, before having to call a professional, can save you time and money.

The Water Heater

water heater repair

Image courtesy of Storyblocks.

First it is important to understand the components of a water heater A water heater generally comprises a holding tank of between 30 and 60 gallons of capacity, a drain valve, a cold water intake, and a hot water outlet.  These are the components that will be visible upon first inspection of the water heater.  Inside the tank you’ll find a few things. A metal rod, which helps to attract rust and corrosion; the water heating element; and a dip tube that separates hot water from cold water.

Water Temperature: Thermostat Issues

One of the most common issues that arise when it comes to water heater repair is the temperature. The water may be slightly too cold for your personal preference, or it may even be hotter than you’d like. Usually, this kind of issue is fairly simple to solve, so don’t worry.
 
When it comes to water heater repair, the first thing to do when this problem occurs is to simply reset the thermostat. Sometimes, the problem really is as simple as switching it off and back on again. If your thermostat lets you choose the temperature of the water, it’s always best to limit it to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This way, the tank is less likely to overheat, and it’ll be more efficient too. On gas heaters, you can simply switch off the thermostat, leave it to cool, and then turn it back on again. If you’ve reset the thermostat and the problem persists, it may need replacing altogether. If you think your thermostat is faulty, it’s best to call out a professional to make sure.

Water Temperature: Sediment Build-Up

Another issue which can affect the water temperature is a build-up of sediment in the water heater. This can affect both electric and gas heaters. Many people aren’t aware that you need to drain a water heater twice per year, to prevent minerals and gunk from building up. If you haven’t been doing this, it could be the answer to your problem.
 
First, make sure to switch off the power supply to the heater. For electric heaters, locate the fuse or breaker box. Gas heaters usually have a simple knob on the thermostat. Allow the water inside of the tank to cool for some time.  Next, close the intake of cold water and attach a hose to the drain valve; this should be near the bottom of the water heaterLastly, turn on the hot water tap at a sink nearby and open the drain valve.  The reason for turning the hot water tap on is to make sure that air gets into the tank. If not, it could create a vacuum which might trap water inside the tank. After the tank is empty, fill it up again halfway with cold water. Then, flush it through the drain valve again.  This should remove any sediment that has built up in the tank over time. As we mentioned earlier, you should do this at least twice a year. It will help to maintain the water heater’s longevity, and lead to greater overall efficiency as well.

Noises

It’s always a bit unsettling to hear your water heater making strange noises. However, it doesn’t always mean that there’s something seriously wrong. Some noises are nothing to worry about, like the humming from the heating element, or the ticking from the pipes expanding and contracting.
 
Other noises, though, can be indicative of a problem. If you can hear popping, cracking or sizzling noises coming from inside, it may be a sediment issue again. You might hear these noises if the sediment builds up enough to bury the heating element. When you flush the heater out, detach the heating element and clean it off with a wire brush. If the noises continue after you’ve done this, it might be a sign that the build-up is quite severe. Sometimes, sediment can build up to the point where you can’t flush it out. In this case, you should think about calling in a professional for their opinion.
 
Another common cause of noise coming from the water heater is the metal rod inside the tank. Sometimes, it rusts or corrodes to the extent that it needs replacing. Metal that has corroded away can collect in the tank, trapping water bubbles underneath and causing a rumbling or popping noise.

Water Heater Repair

We’ve taken you through some of the most common, easy-to-fix problems that occur with water heaters. Hopefully, if you’ve followed these tips correctly, your problem is now fixed. However, the tips in this article won’t solve everything. Some water heater repair issues are just too complex to attempt at home, and need professional help. Trying to resolve a complicated problem yourself at home could be dangerous. You could end up damaging your water heater even more, causing a flood, or even causing yourself injury. If you aren’t sure what the problem is or how to fix it, contact a company that specializes in heating and cooling needs.
 
At Torreys Peak Mechanical, we have over 30 years of water heater repair experience. We’ll be able to examine your water heater to determine exactly what the problem is, and recommend the best course of action. If your problem is fixable, we’ll provide a written estimate of time and cost before carrying out any work. And if your water heater is damaged beyond repair and needs replacing, we can advise you on the best options available to you.
 
So don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today! We’ll be glad to answer any questions you might have.