Most times, we don’t have a clue why our water heater is not functioning correctly. With some basic knowledge of how our heater functions, we might be able to save a few bucks and make the minor fixes yourself. I remember a neighbor said, “My dad, who’s a doctor, could remove someone’s appendix with great precision but couldn’t hit a nail on its head.” Many people call a plumber for minor fixes unnecessarily.
Below are eight basic ways to troubleshoot your water heater. Who knows, it just might save you the cost of a plumber. For example, if your pilot goes out, there are simple directions for restarting your pilot on your water heater. Although, for some, there might be some fear involved in starting the pilot, especially if you never did it before.
- Check the thermostat settings on the water heater: Check the thermostat settings on the water heater because the temperature will tell you how hot the water will be. If the temperature is too low, the water may not reach a hot enough temperature. To check the thermostat settings, locate the thermostat on the water heater and use a thermometer to verify the temperature setting.
- Troubleshoot your water heater fuel source: A water heater’s fuel source can be gas or electricity. Make sure that the fuel source is functioning properly because if there is no fuel or the fuel supply is disrupted, the water heater will not be able to produce hot water. To check the fuel source, make sure the gas supply is turned on. If the water heater is powered by electricity, make sure that the circuit breaker has not tripped. Also, the power cord is securely plugged in.
- Troubleshoot the pilot light or ignition system: If the water heater has a pilot light, ensure the pilot is ignited. If the pilot light is off, the water heater will not be able to produce hot water. To check the pilot light, locate the pilot light on the water heater and look for a small flame. Most heaters have a small window to check the pilot. If the pilot light is off, you will need to relight it according to the instructions in the owner’s manual. Instruction is usually on the door of the heater. If the water heater has an electronic ignition system, make sure that it is functioning properly by checking for any error messages or indicators.
- Check the water supply: Troubleshoot your water heater’s water supply. If there is not enough water, the water heater will not be able to produce hot water. Locate the inlet valve to ensure it is fully open. You can also check the water pressure using a gauge to ensure it is within the recommended range.
- Troubleshoot the heating element: The heating element is responsible for heating the water inside the water heater. If the heating element is not functioning properly, it will not heat the water to the desired temperature. To check the heating element, securely fasten it in place. If the element is removable, make sure you have it properly installed. You can also use a multimeter to test the element for continuity.
- Check the temperature and pressure relief valve: The pressure relief valve is a safety feature designed to release excess pressure and temperature. If the valve is not functioning correctly, it could cause the water heater to malfunction or even explode. Locate the check valve on the water heater and ensure it is not blocked or obstructed. You can also test the valve by slowly lifting the lever to ensure it functions properly.
- Troubleshoot your water heater for leaks: Check for leaks around your water heater because they can cause the water heater to malfunction or even fail. Look for any wet or damp spots around the base of the water heater or on any of the pipes or connections. If you find a leak, address it immediately to prevent further damage.
- Check the age of the water heater: If your water heater is more than 10-15 years old, consider replacing it. As water heaters age, they can become less efficient and more prone to problems.
There Is An Appropriate Time to Call Your Local Plumbing Company
Some issues require a plumber. We always want to save a few bucks if we can do something ourselves. However, at times this might not be in the homeowner’s best interest. For example, crazy sounds coming from your heater, a rusted heater, and low hot water pressure are signs that your heater may need replacing. It’s probably best to call your local plumbing company.
After Exhausting All Your Efforts, Call BIG B’s Experts
In conclusion, you can take several steps to troubleshoot a poorly functioning water heater before calling a plumber. By following the suggested layout, you can identify and fix the problem. If you cannot resolve the issue on your own or are unsure of what to do, it is always best to call a professional.
At BIG B’s, we have a team of skilled and experienced plumbers ready to help you with all your water heater needs. Whether you need repairs, maintenance, or a new installation, we have the expertise to get the job done right. Don’t let a faulty water heater disrupt your daily routine. Give us a call today and let us help you get your hot water back.