You can avoid the disruption, damage and cost of water heater repair by monitoring the function of your appliance. Repairing and installing water heaters is one of the routine plumbing repairs facing homeowners in Waukesha WI.
Hot water heaters, electric- and gas-powered, give hints that they are approaching the end of their useful life. Pay attention to the signs and you can avoid an untimely service call. Common tank-type water heaters are simple products. The latest technology controls their operation, but compared to other appliances, they are not complicated.
Avoid Plumbing Repairs Via Inspection
To avoid costly and inconvenient repairs, troubleshoot potential problems and consider what’s happening inside and out:
- How old is the water heater – water heaters work every day and that takes a toll. If your unit is more than 10 years old a water heater repair or replacement is on the agenda. Better to schedule a replacement before it fails. Check you unit’s age by noting the serial number on the manufacturer’s sticker. The manufacturing date is a special code, like “F051052638.” F is for the month. It’s the sixth letter of the alphabet so it’s for the 6th month – June. The next two digits are for the year – 05 is for 2005. This example is for a heater made in June, 2005. You can check the date code manufacturers’ use on their website.
- Discolored water – when you spot rusty water coming from your hot water pipes it’s a sign your heater is rusting on the inside and will leak soon. In older homes with galvanized pipes it could be a bad pipe, too, so consult a professional for plumbing repairs.
- Rumbling noises – sediment builds inside water heaters as they get older. As sediment heats and reheats it hardens. When that happens you’ll hear rumbling and banging sounds inside the water heater tank. The hardened sediment makes the heater less efficient and, eventually, leaks.
- Water on the floor – a small amount of water on the floor reflects anything from a cracked tank to a minor leak. As the metal heats it expands and water escapes from small fractures. Check the fittings and pressure overflow pipe, too.
Red Flags Signal Need For Water Heater Repair
Some heater-related issues arise in the control systems and heat sources. When you see these signs, it’s time to look closer or call in a professional plumber. Among the most common maladies are:
- No hot water – the common source of heat is either electricity or gas (natural gas or propane). Each has its own reasons for no heat. With an electric heater the first thing to check is the circuit breaker. If your unit has one, check the reset switch on the thermostat. When the power is present, heating elements probably need replacing. Check the gas flow for gas-powered units and make sure the pilot light is on. The issue might be the thermocouple is not igniting the gas. If you have an electronic ignition, check the breaker box.
- Not enough hot water – the thermostat controls temperature so it’s the first element to check. A simple fix is to turn up the temperature setting. In the midst of a very cold winter delivery pipes get very cold when they sit, cooling the hot water quicker, too. Running out of hot water may be a sign you have a tank that’s too small for your needs.
- Water too hot – again look at the thermostat first. The temperature should be adjusted to your comfort level. When it’s too high you’ll feel it. If adjustments don’t lower the temperature enough, call a pro to check the wiring and connections. The final solution is installing a new thermostat.
- Hot water smells funny – when hot water smells bad there are bacteria in the tank. Homes with well water are more likely to experience this problem. Periodic flushing is a temporary fix. Raising the temperature helps a little, too. A final fix is a hot water heater repair to replace the anode rod inside the unit.
Potential Repair Issues For Gas Units
Heaters powered by gas have potential issues specifically related to the accompanying flame. There are three very common concerns:
- Pilot won’t light – consult the owner’s manual to be sure you know the correct way to light the pilot on your unit. There are a few reasons for a pilot failing to light. The orifice (opening in the tube) that delivers gas to the flame is clogged or needs replacing. The thermocouple is loose or needs replacing. There’s air in the gas line or the gas valve is defective.
- Pilot won’t stay lit – a pilot light goes out quickly is more than annoying. In most cases the thermocouple must be replaced. Dirty vents that cause downdrafts to blow out the flame are possible, too. So is a bad gas valve.
- Burner won’t stay lit – a burner sometimes produces uneven flames, whistling sounds and eventually goes out. Most likely a dirty burner with clogged openings is to blame. A bad pilot light or thermocouple are also possibilities.
Don’t Take Chances, Call A Professional Plumber
When you see the first signs your water heater is performing below par, call Schoenwalder Plumbing and talk with our professionals. Our team has years of experience and the best products in the business at its fingertips. Call or email Schoenwalder Plumbing – for all your plumbing repairs and whatever water heater repair you need for your Waukesha or Lake Country home.