How to Troubleshoot Your Water Heater

How to Troubleshoot Your Water Heater

Winter is here and if your water heater is acting up, you’re in for a miserable season. The good news is that many of these problems have simple solutions. Find your water heater issue below and we’ll give you an easy answer.

NOT ENOUGH HOT WATER

There can be several reasons your water heater isn’t producing enough hot water. It may be undersized for your needs. Learn how to size three types of water heaters from energy.gov.   If your water heater has been working fine but suddenly stops producing enough hot water (and your usage pattern has not changed) there may be another problem. Check for a broken dip tube, a defective thermostat, burned out heating elements (if your water heater is electric,) or a heavy buildup of sediment.

THUMPING SOUND

As water heaters age, calcium carbonate can precipitate out and settle to the bottom of the heater, forming sediment. This is especially common in areas where hard water exists. As the burners heat the bottom of the tank, steam bubbles form under the sediment. The steam bubbles escaping from underneath the sediment can create a thumping and popping noise.   This buildup of sediment can reduce the efficiency of your water heater, lower its holding capacity, and clog pumps and valves elsewhere in your plumbing system. You can help prevent sediment buildup by regularly flushing the water heater.

WATER HAMMER

The sudden closing of a valve causes a shock wave in the system, resulting in a hammering sound in the pipes. This is not just an annoying noise–it can be potentially damaging!   Luckily, water hammer arrestors can combat this problem. Installed near the heater, the air bladder cushions the force of the flow of the water, softening the impact.

MILKY WATER

Get ready, things are about to get a little scientific!   Water contains oxygen and other gases. The capacity of water to hold gas is determined by atmospheric pressure. At normal atmospheric pressure, when water is heated, it releases some of the gas. In a water heater, the same principle applies but in a closed environment. The water heater holds gases in their dissolved state. When water is drawn from a faucet and released from the tank, the pressure is lowered, causing the gas to vaporize and form tiny bubbles int he water, giving it a milky appearance.   These bubbles are harmless. If you let the water stand for a few minutes the bubbles will rise from the liquid and the water will become clear.

Do you have any other easy fixes for common water heater problems? Sound off on our Facebook page, or comment below!