You never realize how much you take hot water in the home for granted until water no longer flows or flows cold. No shower, dirty clothes and dirty dishes!
No hot water may mean an emergency call to one of our plumbers — especially in midwinter in Calgary — but before you do that, you might want to check a few of the common problems with water heaters to troubleshoot for yourself.
Water heaters contain many parts and problems are more common than you think. While it can be alarming to turn the shower on in January and no hot water to come out, there may be a relatively simple fix. Many water heaters last up to 20 years or more with good maintenance.
We’ve identified five of the most common hot water heater problems and also provide some advice on where to look if your hot water heater is a gas or electric model.
Top Article ⟶ Tankless Hot Water Heaters vs Tank Storage Water Heaters
Five of the most common hot water heater problems
As you learn about the common problems with water heaters, bear in mind that trying to fix issues yourself without the proper tools and experience can cause injury and further damage to the hot water system in your home — or even water damage or dangerous gas leaks.
With that in mind, the five most common issues with water heaters in Calgary are:
Whether the water doesn’t heat up enough or is way too hot, this creates problems.
The simplest reason is if the thermostat has been accidentally nudged, causing the requested temperature to change unintentionally.
Sometimes, homeowners in Calgary want to save energy by turning the thermostat down in the summer months and forget to turn it back to the required winter temperature in time.
If resetting the thermostat does not increase the water temperature, the thermostat itself may have developed a fault and need replacing (if so, call a professional).
Temperature issues can also be caused due to:
- A leak in the water tank.
- A problem with the thermocouple (see later in this article).
- Temperature-pressure relief valve issues.
- Mineral deposits, which reduce the heater’s efficiency.
Most of these issues are fixable but if there’s a leak in the hot water tank, it’s time to consider a replacement.
What if your water heater is gas-powered?
With gas water heaters, the most common fixes to water temperature problems are:
- Relighting the pilot light — but not if you smell gas (get out of the house and call a professional in this case).
- Adjusting or replacing the thermocouple — try this if you relight the pilot light but it doesn’t stay on.
- Rekindle a blue flame by cutting out drafts — a yellow rather than blue flame usually means a gas-to-air ratio problem but can also mean carbon monoxide is being released (vacate and call a professional).
- Inspecting the gas line — if someone has switched off the gas line, it needs to be reopened and if it is blocked, it must be unblocked professionally.
What if your water heater is electric?
With electric water heaters, always make sure that the unit is off before attempting fixes. The most common fixes to water temperature problems are:
- Restarting your water heater — sometimes, turning the unit off for a couple of minutes and then back on can remedy electric current problems.
- Reset the circuit breaker — turn the circuit breaker off for 20 seconds and then back on. If it doesn’t stay on, call a professional,
Some homeowners choose DIY installations that could keep the cost of a new hot water tank below $1000.
However, beware! DIY is not advisable unless you have considerable experience in hot water tank installations as there are some important safety concerns to bear in mind.
Before you call Alpha Plumbing...
The team of professional plumbers at Alpha Plumbing can help with any water heater problem (gas or electric) but before calling us to discuss your issues, try to find out the age and size of the tank as well as the type/model and the nature of the problem.
Repairs may involve safety issues so never attempt fixes unless you know what you’re doing. Sometimes, you simply need a new unit installed.
Call us in Calgary at 403-470-5785 and we will assess the situation and provide an honest assessment of what you need to get your hot water back up and running.Top Article ⟶ How to Maintain Hot Water Heating Systems