Water heater repair is a given in home-ownership at some point. Midtown Plumbing gets a lot of calls about problems with them, so we want to be a resource for some information about them for our customers. Most come with warranties for a certain number of years, but we can't always be lucky enough to have issues arise within that window of time. There are a number of common problems that can make your showers chilly. A reputable plumber should be able to take care of any of them so you get some more life out of the water heater. Sometimes, though, total replacement is the best option.
Common Water Heater Problems
Among the most common water heater problems are no or not enough hot water, water is too hot, water heater leaks, discolored water, and there are a variety of sounds that people might hear from the water heater. Many of these are best tended to by a licensed plumber, but there are a couple things you can check on your own first.
If water temperature is a problem, you might be in for a repair. A faulty temperature-pressure release valve could cause water to get dangerously hot. A leak might cause the water heater to be constantly losing water and thus trying to keep up with the constant loss of hot water causing the water to be too cold. The dip tube that supplies cold water to the bottom of the tank could also be damaged causing cold water to mix with the hot water. Sometimes replacement of this is a good choice, but depending on the age of the heater, total replacement might be wiser.
Color and Smell
Discolored or bad smelling water is also a common issue. You should first determine if the discolored or smelly water is coming only from the water heater or if you can also find the issue present in cold water. Minerals in water can cause discoloration, so a whole-house filter system might be called for. If a bad smell is isolated to hot water use, a plumbing professional will likely need to replace the anode rod in the water heater.
Water Heater Making Sounds
There are a number of things that could cause your water heater to make sounds, and some have the potential to be dangerous. Investigate with caution or have a professional plumber do it for you. Temperature variations can cause expanding and contracting that might cause some popping sounds. Dripping sounds mean leaks. Very frequently, hard water deposits can cause efficiency problems that you might also be able to hear as gurgles or popping noises. This will often require, at the least, a total flush of your water heater.
If your water heater is making a boiling sound, this is a dangerous situation. There is likely very high pressure inside the tank. Call us immediately!
Replacing a Water Heater
When water heaters get old or are in need of significant repair, its often wise to completely replace it. New models of water heaters are far more efficient than they used to be, so the investment is a good one in the long run. Tankless water heaters are increasingly popular, but traditional ones are also modernized to conserve energy well compared to their older counterparts.
Feel free to ask us about your options! We have worked on and installed all kinds, and we're happy to share our experiences. Consumer Reports also has a good water heater buying guide available.
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