You don't realize how important your water heater is until you experience hot water heater problems.
Helpful Plumbing Tips

4 Common Hot Water Heater Problems

Hot water heater problems are usually self-evident. For instance, if there’s no hot water coming out of the water heater, then it becomes immediately evident that there’s a problem with it.

Other hot water heater problems are water puddling around the water heater unit and the water heater making gurgling or pinging noises.

While it’s not as savvy and sleek as a flat-screen TV or voice-activated home automation control devices, hot water heaters are an essential appliance in a modern home. Unless they are turned off when you go out of town, we need hot water heaters to work every day. However, like any other piece of appliance, issues often arise.

Water heaters are an important appliance in today's homes.

Water heaters are mostly taken for granted – until there are hot water heater problems that need fixing.

It’s a good thing water heaters are a piece of relatively straightforward equipment. All the components that make up a water heater are important. There are not very many of these components – especially if you compare it to other modern appliances.

Most hot water heater problems can be fixed on your own – and without spending too much, especially with tankless water heaters. However, if the issue is with the main water tank, you would most likely need to get a new water heater to solve the problem.

In today’s post, let’s talk about common hot water heater problems homeowners experience. We’ll also look at some troubleshooting tips, and when it’s advisable to get professional help, so you don’t contribute to the problem.

As with anything involving electrical appliances, it’s always recommended to employ the services of a professional if you’re not comfortable with attempting to fix a hot water heater yourself.

Before Anything Else, Switch Off the Power

Before handling any electrical appliance, always remember safety first.

Make sure to switch off your hot water heater before troubleshooting. Find the circuit breaker or fuse and turn it off.

Hot Water Heater Problems

Water Temperature Issues

Before starting any troubleshooting steps to fix hot water heater problems, make sure the unit is turned off.

Many hot water heater problems can lead to water temperature issues. From having water that’s too hot to not having hot water at all – symptoms of this issue vary.

When your water heater doesn’t have hot water coming out, check if you have a malfunctioning thermostat or electric heating element; they may not be cultivating enough power to heat the water. It’s always advisable to rule out power source problems first.

Reset your circuit breaker. If you see any damaged fuse, make sure to replace it. Check the thermostat and see if adequate power supply is being transmitted to it. If the thermostat is getting power, but it’s still malfunctioning, you can buy a replacement for it.

On the other hand, if the water coming out of the hot water heater is not hot enough, the issue may be from obstructed hot and cold connections, small water heater, or a broken thermostat or heating element.

To check if you have an undersized small heater, its hot water capacity should be up to 75 percent. To check for obstructed connections, switch off the water supply then turn on the hot water faucet. If there’s still water flowing, check for crossed connections.

Make sure there are no sediments or other obstruction stuck to it. Examine all the heating elements for electrical stability.

When the water is too hot, you can check the temperatures of the thermostats. Make sure they are set between 40°C or 110°F and 60°C or 140°F.

Water Leaks

Water leaks can be the result of a broken T&P (temperature and pressure) relief valve, overheating, stuck valve, loose heating elements, leaking water tank, bad gasket, or excessive pressure.

Since the causes are broad, investigating the primary source of the leak could be time-consuming. To get to the root of the problem, call a plumbing professional. They have the tools, experience, and knowledge to know what’s causing hot water heater problems and how best to address them.

Rusty Water or Odor

If odor or rusty water is coming out of your hot water heater, there may be corrosion or deterioration happening inside the unit, or you may have a failing anode rod. You can address this by flushing the water heater with a hydrogen peroxide solution.

Noisy Water Heater

If you hear any rumbling noise coming from the heater, it may be due to a build-up of sediment. You can fix this by flushing the heater with a hydrogen peroxide solution.