When you need to repair your water heater and you have forgotten where you put your warranty or manual, it helps to have some tips to guide you along the way. This guide assumes that the hot water heaters were properly installed and were operating correctly before any problems developed. If you suspect that this is not the case, call a plumber in DeKalb County, GA for a complete inspection of the installation.

It will be applicable to most brands of water heater troubleshooting like Takagi, Rudd, Bosch, State Industries, Bradford-White, Rinnai or GE water heaters.

Common electric hot water heater problems and repairs

Warning: Your electric water heater is a 240 volt appliance. The shock it can produce can be fatal. Turn off the power at the service panel before beginning work. Be sure to label the service panel with tape that will alert family members you are working on the electricity.

Problem: Not enough hot water

Thermostat may be set too low, increase temperature. Or there is sediment in the tank, try draining it. The thermostat or heating element may have failed and requires replacement or the dip tube may be damaged.

Problem: No hot water

Check the circuit breaker or fuse box. High temperature limit switch (ECO – Energy Cut Off) may have tripped. Determine if a problem exists and reset the switch. Upper thermostat may have failed and requires replacement or heating element may have failed and requires replacement.

Problem: Tank is leaking

Determine if the leak is from pipes or relief valves. Many water heaters use a low quality valve which can be difficult to close tightly. Use slip joint pliers to turn the valve all the way closed.
Caution: Too much force may snap the valve off. If the valve has failed, replacement is required.

Problem: Hot Water Heater is noisy

Scale can build up on the heating elements causing all sorts of noises to occur while heating. Try removing the heating elements and either clean or replace them. Low water pressure can also results in spot boiling or voltage exceeds heating element’s rating.

Problem: Dirty water

Drain and flush the tank. Doing this regularly will extend the life of your electric water heater. If the drain valve leaks, tighten or replace.

Common gas hot water heaters problems and repairs:

Warning: If you smell a gas odour, close the gas-shutoff value that supplies water to the heater. Open your door or windows to ventilate the room and call the gas company immediately.

Problem: Not enough hot water

Thermostat may be set too low, increase temperature. Or if there is sediment in the tank, try draining it. Water heater is too small, and needed to be replaced with larger capacity model. Or it could be due to low gas pressure, so check with utility company.

Problem: Water leaks

Operate the pressure relief value. Many water heaters use a low quality valve which can be difficult to close tightly. Use slip joint pliers to turn the valve all the way closed. Caution: Too much force may snap the valve off. If leak continues and the temperature is okay, replace the value.

Problem: Pilot light will not stay lit

Check that the thermocouple is securely screwed into the thermostat assembly. The thermocouple may have failed and requires replacement. There may be air or dirt in the gas line or pilot line or clean the orifice which may be clogged. Inadequate combustion air may cause a water heater to shut down for safety reasons.

Problem: Water is too hot

Check and reset temperature control. If too high, have the thermostat professionally serviced.

Problem: Condensation on tank

Cold water entering the tank can result in external condensation. Ventilation may be inadequate. Replacement with a larger tank may help.

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