Most homeowners pay little attention to their water heaters, especially when they work well. But when problems occur, it’s a good idea to call a plumber near you right away.
Besides an ice-cold shower, other signs of a failing unit include a faulty thermocouple and a garlic-like odor. If either is the case, you’ll probably need a new one. Checkout Hot Water Now CO for more information.
If your water heater isn’t producing hot water, it could be a thermostat issue. The lower thermostat is responsible for the initial heating of your water, and the upper thermostat is responsible for regulating the temperature once it’s heated. Both thermostats can become faulty, and in some cases, one or both may need to be replaced.
Before you begin testing the thermostat, make sure the circuit breaker for your water heater isn’t tripped. If it has, reset it and see if this fixes the problem. Once you’ve done this, you can proceed to test the unit with a multimeter. Before you do, however, you should remove the plastic panels covering both of the thermostats and label all the wires that are attached to them for later use. Also, if you plan to install a new thermostat, it’s a good idea to create a diagram for reference.
Next, you’ll need to prepare the multimeter by ensuring there is no electricity running to the thermostat. You can do this by waving a non-contact voltage tester near a pair of screws at the top of the unit. If the meter reads zero, then there is no power. Otherwise, continue to the next step.
If you find that your upper thermostat is faulty, the first thing to do is to try to reset it. Depending on the type of water heater, this can be achieved by opening an access panel and removing insulation on the tank’s front. There is usually a red button above the thermostat that will need to be pressed in order to reset it. If you’re unable to press this, you’ll need to replace the access panel, insulation, and the thermostat itself in order to restore power.
Once you’ve completed these steps, it’s time to test the upper thermostat. With the multimeter set to continuity, touch a lead from the first end of your voltmeter to the left common terminal on the bottom half of the thermostat and move the other lead from the bottom of the unit to its right heating element terminal. The multimeter should display a reading of zero continuity when this is done, meaning that the upper thermostat has been re-connected properly to the heating element.
Corrosion of metals is a natural, irreversible process that takes place when an element combines with oxygen and water to form oxides or salts. The corrosion degrades the useful properties of a metal and can cause it to become brittle and prone to breaking or leaking. It can also cause discolored water. Corrosion can be prevented or halted by taking the proper measures.
Water heaters are designed to keep corrosion at bay through a variety of methods. For example, the interior of the tank is lined with glass to prevent corrosion. There is a pressure relief valve that keeps air from escaping the tank, and there is a rod called the sacrificial anode rod that draws the forces of corrosion to it rather than the walls of the water heater tank. However, sometimes these systems can fail. For example, if you notice that your hot water has a metallic taste or smell, it may be due to a corroded anode rod or sacrificial anode rod. In this case, draining your water heater and replacing the anode rod will often solve the problem.
Similarly, the seams of your hot water heater can rust. If you notice that the seams are rusty, this is another sign that it is time to replace your water heater. Corrosion at the seams is a sign of galvanic corrosion, which is an extremely serious issue. A professional plumber will be able to determine whether this is the case and make the necessary repairs.
Corrosion can also occur in the pipes that connect to your water heater. If you notice rusty or flaky pipes, this is probably due to galvanic corrosion, which can lead to leaking and flooding. Fortunately, this is an easy fix for a professional. It involves shutting off the water and electricity, draining the water heater and all connected pipes, disassembling and rebuilding the water heater, and testing for leaks. While this is a fairly involved task, it is one that should always be done by a professional. Otherwise, it could result in serious damage to your home.
Dip Tube Issues
The water heater dip tube is one of the most important parts of a water heater but often goes unnoticed. When this component fails, you can run out of hot water or receive tepid water from faucets. It’s easy to fix, however, with the help of a Carter professional plumber.
Dip tubes are long plastic tubes that fit into the cold water inlet on your tank and stop just above the bottom. Their purpose is to direct incoming cold replacement water to the bottom of your tank for heating, keeping dense, cold water naturally separated from warmer, lighter, hot water that’s used by appliances and faucets. Without the dip tube, cold water mixes with the top of your tank, and you get tepid water instead.
In general, water heater dip tubes last the life of your water heater. However, due to a manufacturing defect, water heaters manufactured between 1993 and 1997 were fabricated with low quality polypropylene dip tubes that break down or disintegrate sooner than normal. These deteriorated dip tubes cannot perform their function as well, so it’s best to replace them.
If your home has a water heater made in this time frame, the first thing you’ll want to do is check the serial number on the tank. If the 4th and 5th digits are between 93 and 97, then it’s likely you have a defective dip tube that should be replaced immediately.
The other thing you’ll want to do is turn off your water supply valve to the water heater, then drain the tank. Once the tank is completely drained, you can remove the dip tube’s pipe nipple and connector. Use a screwdriver to loosen and pull out the old tube. Be careful, as mishandling can break the dip tube, causing plastic fragments to enter your home’s plumbing system and clog appliance inlet screens and sink aerators.
Once you’ve removed the old tube, replace it with a new, preferably cross-linked polyethylene PEX dip tube. Be sure the curve on the end of the dip tube is pointing away from the drain valve so it won’t swirl water around the drain valve and cause problems in your tank.
Pressure Valve Issues
The temperature and pressure relief valve is a safety feature of the water heater that lets out steam or hot water if there is too much pressure inside. This prevents the water heater from blowing up. It is very important to check the T&P valve every so often to see if it is stiff and hard to open. It can also get stuck in a downward position and if this occurs the T&P valve cannot release if it reaches maximum pressure. This is a dangerous situation and you should call a plumber immediately.
The T&P valve is connected to a discharge tube that runs down to the floor or to a drain. If the discharge pipe is not angled downward it can build up mineral deposits and stiffen the T&P valve. This can make the valve leak and may even rupture. It is very important to keep the discharge tube angled downward and to use a copper tube for this line. The T&P valve should also be connected to a water heater with a high rating for the discharge port. The T&P valve and the discharge tube should be well protected to prevent rust and corrosion.
Another common problem that can occur with the T&P valve is a leak at the lever that opens and closes it. This can be very irritating and can cause the valve to stick in a partially open position. This is a very serious problem because it can cause the T&P valve to fail to open during a high-pressure spike in the water heater and allow steam or hot water to escape into your home.
If you notice a leak at the T&P valve lever, try jiggling it to loosen it up. If this does not work then you will need to replace the T&P valve. A new T&P valve is less than $20 and installing it is a very easy DIY project.
It is possible that a problem with the water utility causes a T&P valve leak. Some water utilities boost the pressure to the point where the T&P valve cannot handle it and leaks. However, it is unlikely that this would happen after a hot water heater has been installed for years since most TPR valves are set to go off at a lower pressure than boiler pressure.