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(805) 647-0113

Need Water Heater Repair? Here’s What to Do

plumber repairs the wires of water heater

Experiencing issues with your water heater can disrupt daily routines. When hot water suddenly becomes unavailable or the system malfunctions, it’s essential to diagnose and resolve the problem quickly. In this blog, we will provide a comprehensive set of troubleshooting steps to help you identify common issues and potential solutions. 

From checking power supplies and pilot lights to inspecting for leaks and maintaining essential components, this guide equips you with the necessary knowledge for water heater repair and ensures the continued efficiency of your system.

1. Check the Power Supply

Verifying the water heater’s power supply involves inspecting the circuit breaker or fuse box. A tripped breaker or blown fuse could disrupt the heater’s functionality. Locate the water heater’s circuit breaker, usually labeled in the electrical panel, and reset it if it’s tripped. Replace a blown fuse as necessary. Ensure safety precautions, such as wearing insulated gloves, and if uncertain about electrical work, consult a professional electrician to avoid hazards.

2. Inspect the Pilot Light (for gas heaters)

In gas water heaters, a non-functional pilot light can result in no hot water. If you notice the pilot light is out, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to relight it properly. Be cautious and follow safety guidelines meticulously. If uncomfortable or inexperienced with gas appliances, seek assistance from a qualified technician for water heater repair to avoid gas-related risks like leaks or explosions.

3. Look for Leaks

Perform a thorough visual examination around the water heater for any signs of leaks, including puddles or moisture accumulation. Leaks suggest potential issues with the tank or its connections. Address leaks promptly to mitigate water damage and contact a professional plumber to resolve underlying problems if detected. 

In fact, ten percent of houses have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more daily. Being proactive about leak detection and repair can significantly contribute to water conservation efforts and prevent unnecessary wastage.

4. Adjust the Thermostat

The thermostat regulates the water heater’s temperature. Ensure it’s set appropriately for your needs. If the water isn’t sufficiently hot, consider adjusting the thermostat slightly higher. However, if you’re facing persistent issues, it might be time to consider water heater repair.

Refrain from excessively high temperatures for safety reasons. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for temperature settings to prevent scalding and energy waste.

5. Flush the Tank

Sediment buildup inside the water heater tank can hinder its efficiency. Flushing the tank eliminates sediment, enhancing heating performance. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions meticulously to perform a proper flush.

Typically, this involves turning off the heater, connecting a hose to drain the tank, and flushing out accumulated sediment. Regular tank flushing, as recommended, helps maintain optimal performance and extends the water heater’s lifespan.

6. Check the Pressure Relief Valve

Water Heater Repair

The pressure relief valve is a fundamental safety component in a water heater, designed to release excess pressure to prevent tank rupture. To test it, carefully lift the valve’s tab slightly and let it snap back into place. This action should cause hot water to discharge through the valve’s drain pipe. Exercise caution, as the water may be scalding hot. 

If the valve doesn’t operate or continues to leak after testing, it could indicate a malfunction and might require replacement. A faulty pressure relief valve poses a serious safety risk, so promptly address any issues and replace the valve if necessary to ensure proper functionality and prevent potential hazards.

7. Inspect the Anode Rod

The anode rod is a sacrificial part inside the water heater tank that helps prevent corrosion by attracting minerals and corrosive elements. Over time, this rod can corrode or wear out. Inspect the condition of the anode rod by checking it for heavy corrosion or significant wear. 

If it appears heavily corroded or deteriorated, consider replacing it. Regularly maintaining the anode rod can extend the lifespan of your water heater by protecting the tank from corrosion, preserving its structural integrity, and ensuring efficient operation.

8. Contact a Professional

If troubleshooting steps don’t resolve the water heater issue or if you’re uncertain about the diagnosis or repair process, it’s advisable to contact a licensed plumber or professional water heater repair service. Professional technicians possess the necessary expertise, tools, and experience to identify and address more intricate problems accurately. 

They can conduct thorough diagnostics, perform repairs or replacements safely, and provide guidance on maintaining the water heater’s functionality and safety for optimal performance and longevity. Promptly engaging a professional ensures timely resolution, minimizes risks, and maintains the efficiency of your water heating system.

Water Heater Repair FAQs

Is it worth it to repair a water heater?

Water heater repair can be worthwhile if it’s under warranty or if the repair cost is less than half the price of a new unit. For older systems, this cost threshold can indicate whether repairs are financially sensible or if it’s more practical to invest in a new water heater.

What shortens the life of a water heater?

Several factors can reduce a water heater’s lifespan, including sediment buildup, excessive water pressure, corrosion due to minerals in the water, lack of maintenance, or inadequate insulation, causing the tank to work harder and wear out sooner.

What is appropriate maintenance for a water heater?

Routine maintenance for a water heater includes flushing the unit annually to remove sediment, inspecting and potentially replacing the anode rod, checking for leaks or rust, and testing valves and thermostats. Regular maintenance helps ensure efficiency and prolongs the heater’s life.

What are the signs that a water heater needs replacing?

Signs indicating a need for a new water heater include the unit’s age reaching the end of its lifespan, unusual noises during operation, rusty water coming from taps, and a decline in hot water duration or temperature compared to its usual performance. These signs suggest potential issues that might warrant a replacement.

Final Thoughts

These eight troubleshooting steps on water heater repair encompass essential diagnostics and maintenance strategies. Prompt attention to power supply, pilot lights, leaks, and component checks ensures efficient functionality. Regular upkeep and professional assistance when needed guarantee prolonged performance and safety. Understanding these steps empowers homeowners to address water heater issues effectively, securing a reliable hot water supply.

If you’re unsure about repairing it yourself, contact us at Hansen’s Plumbing. We offer expert water heater repair services, ensuring safety and efficient solutions. Let us help you maintain your system’s functionality.

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