To troubleshoot issues once you discover your water heater has problems it helps to begin with the type of water heater you are using. There are tankless heaters and there are standard gas and electric water heaters. The standard gas or electric water heaters use insulated storage tanks and are the most commonly found in homes.
Usually water heaters are very reliable, but then- there is Murphy’s law.
Problems that can occur for most water heaters include:
- No hot water at all.
- Not enough hot water.
- Smells like rotten egg.
- Colored, rusty looking water.
- Popping sounds or low rumbling.
- Whining noise in a high pitch.
- Leaking water at the base of the heater .
If your problem is: no hot water producing then these are the only possible causes:
- Faulty gas pilot.
- Faulty gas thermocouple.
- Faulty gas pilot control valve.
- Faulty electric thermostat.
- Faulty upper electric heating element
So these potential problems have these potential repairs:
Check the pilot light flame if you have a gas water heater, relight this if necessary.
Then you can:
- Tighten, replace or reposition the gas thermocouple- then check to see if this fixes it.
- If not, replace the valve to the pilot control
- For an electric water heater simply confirm that power is actually getting to the water heater thermostat.
- If you find power is indeed arriving, then you need to replace either the thermostat or the heating element.
- For most people that discover their water heater leaking, this simple guide should help you.
Most folks who discover they have no hot water at all will also be able to trouble shoot the problem using these guiding principles. Most do-it-yourself repairs can be quick and simple provided you follow the steps, and take a slow and studied approach. If you have followed the steps but still can’t fix your water heater then it is probably time to call a plumber or replace your water heater.