How to Know Your Water Heater Needs Repair

How to Know Your Water Heater Needs Repair

Is your hot water water not working the way it should? That’s lousy! If you think you have hot water tank problems, you’ve come to the right place.

When it comes to troubleshooting hot water tank issues, there could be several culprits. There are many parts in a water heater. One issue may be the result of another. If you’re dealing with hot water tank problems, it’s best to observe any changes, and then call a professional who can spot the less obvious signs. 

Here are a few common issues to watch out for.

Hot Water Supply Is Inadequate

If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Why is my hot water not working?”, you’re not alone. One of the most frequent hot water tank issues is an inadequate amount of hot water. If you find you’re running out of hot water quickly, that could be a sign that there is sediment building up in the tank. This is normal as your hot water tank ages. Minerals like calcium or magnesium can start to collect in the bottom. As they build, they take up space, leaving less room for hot water. 

Mineral deposits also impact the overall efficiency of the unit. Flushing out the tank can help with this. An expert technician can take care of this for you. 

Heater Temperature Fluctuates Abruptly

It can be so frustrating to have hot water one second, and cold water the next—especially when you’re in the shower! Temperature fluctuations can be caused by a few things, including a leak in the tank, issues with the pressure relief valve, sediment building up in the tank, or a malfunctioning pilot light. All of these can lead to your hot water tank not heating consistently. 

Major leaks are pretty easy to spot. If you see water on the floor around the unit, then there’s the problem. Take a flashlight and check the tray under the unit. If there’s no water, but you see white mineral deposits on the floor, then that’s an indication a leak has dried and left calcium or magnesium behind. Check around the top of the tank to see if any of the pipes or valves are leaking. If you can’t spot anything, and your hot water is not hot, a professional can help with more detailed detective work. 

Uneven Water Pressure

Does it take forever to fill the sink or tub? Low water pressure is likely the culprit, and excess sediment could be to blame. Not only can magnesium and calcium build up in your hot water tank, but those minerals can also sit in the pipes in your home or apartment building. As they build up, the flow of water becomes restricted and travels far less efficiently.

A plumber can assess and determine if your water pressure problems are due to mineral deposits. 

Water Heater Pilot Light Went Off

If you have no hot water in the house, the pilot light could be to blame. That small flame has a lot of power! 

If you have a gas water heater, and the hot water tank is not heating up at all, check to see if the light has gone out. If you smell a mild garlicky odour around the tank, it’s an indication that the light needs to be relit. This is a simple process.

However, if the smell is very strong, it’s more serious. If strong odours are coming from the unit, you could have a problem with the gas line. If this happens, turn off the tank, open a window, leave the building, and call us and the gas utility company. 

Water Tank Produces Abnormal Sounds

One of the most common water heater problems is noise. An unusually loud water heater can be annoying. Sometimes they rumble, sometimes they emit a sharp whining sound, and sometimes you might hear a popping noise.

Sediment building up could be the issue. Magnesium and calcium deposits could be disrupting the regular operation of the unit, or they may have burnt on the heating element. If that has happened, you’ll notice a change in water temperature as well.

If you ever hear a bubbling or boiling noise coming from your hot water tank, the unit could be overheating. This is serious. You’ll need to call a professional immediately, since this sound indicates a pressure buildup that needs to be released. 

Water Is Discoloured

While discoloured water isn’t dangerous, it’s not appealing to shower or cook with, and it can impact the performance of your home appliances. This can happen with “hard” water—water that has higher concentrations of iron or copper. Hard water can rust the pipes in your home, leaving you with water that has a brown, rusty tinge to it.

A home water softener can help with this. Water softeners treat water through a process called ion exchange. Those mineral deposits that impact the pipes or cause build up are exchanged for potassium and sodium, which are much kinder to the plumbing. 

Water Has Bad Odour

If your water is smelly, then you could be dealing with bacteria in the hot water tank. Bacteria thrive in warm environments! If your hot water heater is improperly maintained, then it becomes a breeding ground for that nasty stuff. This will not correct itself on its own. If the smell continues, then your hot water tank needs to be looked at by a professional plumber. 

Hot Water Not Working? Call An Expert

If you’re in the midst of hot water tank troubleshooting, our expert technicians are available 24/7! Please give us a call if your water heater is not working. 

If the time has come to replace your unit, schedule a consultation! We’ll go through all the purchase and installation costs, and recommend units that best fit your needs and budget. Visit our specials page to learn more about leasing a hot water tank for as low as $13.99/month, or purchasing a new one for as low as $19.99/month. 

Water Heater FAQs

How frequently should I maintain my hot water tank?

Hot water tanks are usually out of sight, out of mind. Don’t forget about them! We recommend setting a regular reminder in your calendar to check on the unit every few months. Inspect the top and bottom, check for leaks, and listen for any unusual noises.

Maintenance should be done annually, to ensure maximum performance and longevity of the unit. Doing your regular checks will help you get ahead of any issues that may not be able to wait until the next maintenance appointment. 

Should you drain your hot water tank every year?

It will depend on the quality of your water. If you’re dealing with municipal water, there’s no need to drain your tank often. The water shouldn’t have enough magnesium or calcium to cause significant buildup in just one year.

However, if you’re connected to a water well and the water is “hard”, you may want to drain and flush the unit more often. A professional plumber can help you determine a proper schedule, and can suggest a schedule during annual maintenance checks. 

How do I make my hot water heater last longer?

The key to extending the life of your hot water heater is regular maintenance. Annual inspections by a professional along with regular onceovers by the homeowner or property manager are key.

How much does it cost to replace a hot water heater?

If your hot water heater is not working, you have a couple of options for getting a replacement. Prices vary, depending on whether you’d like to lease or buy. Schedule a consultation with one of our experts for information on leasing or buying a new water heater. Bonus: We currently have specials running on our water tanks!

How do I reset my hot water heater?

Look for the reset switch on the tank. It’s usually near the top, and might be behind a panel. If you find you need to hit the button often, call a professional. They can diagnose what’s going on with the unit and offer a proper solution.

How long do water tanks last after they begin to leak?

If your tank is leaking, you don’t have much time. The leak will not improve on its own. Call a professional to get an answer for your specific situation, but know that replacing the unit will need to happen pretty soon.

Should I replace my 8-year-old water tank?

It may not need to be replaced yet, but it will likely need to be soon. The average lifespan of a hot water heater is 8-10 years. During an annual maintenance check, a professional plumber can inspect and present an overview of the current state of the unit, and help with decisions regarding replacing or repairing. 

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