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Common Water Heater Repairs

Water Heater Repair Spring TX can be costly, especially if your unit is old. However, if your unit is still within its expected lifetime, continuing maintenance and repairs might be a better value than investing in a new water heater.

Water Heater Repairs

A leaking tank can lead to significant water damage and mold growth. To fix this, turn off the power and water supply to the heater.

One of the most common water heater repair issues is a leaking tank. If a leak occurs it’s important to find out the source and fix it quickly before any water damage happens. Luckily, leaks are usually quite easy to identify. You’ll either see water collecting in a pan underneath the tank, or you’ll see rust-colored streaks on the floor around any openings to the tank.

The most common causes of a leaking tank are from the cold and hot water inlet and outlet pipes that connect to the top of your water heater. These pipes loosen over time which can cause leaks. Often times these leaks can be fixed by simply tightening the connections with a pipe wrench.

Another common cause of a leaking tank is from the temperature and pressure relief valve. This valve also loosens over time. It is very important to ensure this valve is working properly and releasing at the proper pressure. If not, it can lead to dangerously high water pressure and is likely time for a replacement.

If you find a leaking tank it’s important to turn off your water supply immediately at the cold water shut off valve located above your water heater. This will either have a handle that you pull down or a dial that you turn clockwise. This will slow down or stop the leaking until you can call your plumber for water heater repair. Knowing where the leak is coming from can help your plumber diagnose and repair the problem. It can help them rule out some problems and determine if your water heater is salvageable or if you need a replacement.

Lack of Hot Water

We depend on our water heaters for everything from bathing and showering to washing clothes and dishes. Luckily, most water heaters are relatively trouble-free. However, when problems arise they can be serious. Some of the most common issues include:

No Hot Water

There are a few reasons why your water heater might not be producing hot water. The first reason is that the tank is undersized and needs to be replaced. Another possibility is that your temperature dial may be set too high and needs to be turned down.

Another reason could be that the sulfate anode rod is corroding and producing a sulfur-like odor. If you have a well water system or haven’t flushed the tank in awhile, sulfate can accumulate, causing a build-up of hydrogen sulfide gas in the tank. This produces the odor and discoloration. A professional plumber can replace the anode rod and/or drain your tank to fix this problem.

Screeching or screaming sounds are a sign that there is too much pressure in the tank. This is often the result of a faulty T&P valve (temperature and pressure relief valve), which is designed to relieve excess heat and pressure when necessary. A Carter plumbing specialist can replace this for you.

If your water heater is gas, you should also check the pilot light and ensure it is still lit. If it isn’t, the thermocouple or gas control valve may have failed and need to be replaced by a professional plumber.

Odd Noises

Even though it’s common for water heaters to make a certain amount of noise during normal operation, hearing strange sounds from your unit is cause for concern. In fact, some of these noises can indicate serious underlying issues that you must address immediately.

Rumbling or sizzling sounds typically signal that sediment has built up in your tank. This can be remedied by flushing your tank and draining it regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Crackling sounds are a natural occurrence for gas-powered units that experience condensation droplets vaporizing as they heat up on the burner. While this sound may be unsettling, it’s usually harmless. Humming sounds, however, are not a good sign and often indicate a loose heating element. These types of issues should be handled by a professional plumber to prevent any potential damage to the unit or your plumbing system.

Screeching and whistling sounds are usually caused by a restricted water flow through the valves. This is especially the case when you have an inlet control valve that’s not fully opened, which forces water through a narrow opening and creates high-pressure noises. If you’re experiencing this issue, you should first ensure that the valve is completely open and look for any deformities that could be causing the restriction.

Knocking or hammer sounds are also caused by sudden cessation of water flow to your unit, which causes the internal pipes to vibrate and bang against each other. To avoid these issues, you can install a water hammer arrestor that helps to absorb the shock when shutoff valves close rapidly. This device is relatively inexpensive and can easily be found at your local hardware store.

Discolored Water

When you turn on your taps, you expect to see clean, clear water. Brown or murky water is a sign that minerals, rust, or dirt are in your pipes. Fortunately, this is typically a temporary issue that resolves itself after you run your water for a few minutes.

Minerals like iron or rust normally settle at the bottom of your water supply lines and don’t mix with the flowing water. However, events like a construction project or sudden surge in water demand can stir these sediments up into the water main and cause discoloration. The change usually lasts for a few hours while the sediments resettle at the bottom of the water main.

If the discoloration only affects your hot water, it is likely a problem with your water heater. Older piping systems may be made from galvanized steel, which corrodes as it ages and can leave particles of rust in your water supply. If the discoloration is affecting both your cold and hot water, it’s more likely a problem with the local municipal water supply.

If you’re in a rural setting or rely on your own private well for your water, you may encounter iron-reducing bacteria that are more likely to cause discolored hot water than the bacteria in municipal supplies. These bacteria “eat” the iron in your pipes by oxidizing it. This can cause your hot water to be yellow or brown in color, but it should not be harmful to drink or use for washing. If you have persistent discolored water in your building, contact your water supplier and report the problem. They will need to investigate and take appropriate steps to remedy the situation.

Unusual Smells

Nothing spoils a nice hot shower like a foul odor. If your water heater smells of rotten eggs, sewer, bleach, or gas, you likely have a problem that needs to be addressed quickly. These odors are typically caused by chemical reactions within the tank or your well water supply that produce hydrogen sulfide gas or iron bacteria.

Electrical problems in electric tank-type units can also create a strange smell. If the wires in your unit become loose, they may short circuit and generate heat that produces a burning smell. The best way to identify the source of the odor is to run both your cold and hot water separately and smell the water coming out of each tap. If the odor is only present when running your hot water, you may have a simple solution, such as flushing and draining the tank or replacing the anode rod.

A sacrificial anode rod is used in tank-type water heaters to attract and remove rust particles from the inside of the tank. This helps extend the life of your unit by preventing mineral sediment buildup and the formation of rust-rings that can damage the heater. If the anode rod has been corroded to the point that it no longer works, you will need to replace it.

For a quick fix, try pouring a pint of 3% hydrogen peroxide into the tank. The oxidation will help break down the sulfates and hydrogen sulfide gas producing bacteria. Be sure to turn off your water heater and open the pressure valve before beginning. If you’re not comfortable tackling this DIY task, contact a professional plumber. A plumber will have the proper tools and knowledge to safely flush and drain your water heater.