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3 Common Water Heater Problems & How to Fix Them

A Persistent Issue or a Sudden Change?

Stepping into a shower only to be greeted by a blast of cold water can be a jarring start to anyone's day. Before you start troubleshooting, it's important to determine whether the lack of hot water is a new development or a chronic problem.

A sudden loss of hot water could indicate a malfunctioning heating element or a tripped circuit breaker. In contrast, a gradual decrease in hot water supply might suggest a more insidious issue, such as sediment build-up. By paying close attention to the circumstances surrounding your problem, you can narrow down the potential causes and take the first step toward a solution.

Common causes of water heater problems:

  • Faulty heating elements: Electric water heaters have two heating elements that can fail, causing a loss of hot water.
  • Sediment build-up: Over time, minerals from hard water can accumulate at the bottom of the tank, insulating the water from the heater's warmth.
  • Tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse: Electrical issues can interrupt power to the water heater, resulting in no hot water.
  • Faulty thermostat: A malfunctioning thermostat can lead to water that's too hot or too cold.
  • Gas supply issues: Problems with the gas line or pilot light can disrupt heating for gas water heaters.
  • Leaks in the tank or connections: Water leaks can lead to a decrease in pressure and efficiency, sometimes resulting in a lack of hot water.

Keep reading to learn about three common categories of water heater repair problems and how to approach fixing them.

Problem #1: Sediment Build-Up

One of the most frequent culprits behind water heater issues is sediment build-up. This occurs when water, especially hard water, deposits minerals like calcium and magnesium into the bottom of the water heater tank over time. In electric water heaters, sediment can cover heating elements, causing them to overheat and fail. In gas water heaters, sediment build-up can prevent proper heat transfer, making it harder to maintain the desired water temperature. This inefficiency can lead to increased energy costs, as the system has to work harder to heat water, and can also shorten the lifespan of the water heater.

Resolving Sediment Build-Up

Regular maintenance is the most effective way to combat sediment build-up, specifically by flushing the water heater tank. This process involves draining the water from the tank to remove the sediment that has settled at the bottom. It's recommended to perform this task at least once a year, but areas with very hard water might require more frequent flushes. To ensure this task is done safely and correctly without damaging your water heater, we encourage you to contact our technicians at Donmar Heating, Cooling & Plumbing.

Problem #2: Damaged Water Heater Parts

Damaged parts within your water heater can significantly impede its performance, leading to the frustrating experience of unpredictably cold showers. Identifying and replacing faulty components is essential for restoring your system to optimal functioning.

Issues stemming from damaged water heater parts typically manifest as a sudden problem, such as suddenly you have no hot water.

When dealing with damaged or faulty water heater parts, it's crucial to consult with a professional water heater repair technician to ensure your safety and the longevity of your appliance. Our skilled technicians at Donmar Heating, Cooling & Plumbing are specifically trained to diagnose and fix such issues efficiently, preventing further damage and restoring your hot water supply promptly.

Problem #3: Your Water Heater Is Wearing Out

Like all home appliances, water heaters have a finite lifespan, and the consequences of an aging unit can manifest in numerous problematic ways. When a water heater approaches the end of its life, typically around 10 to 15 years, it may begin to fail more frequently, requiring costly repairs.

Signs that it might be time for a replacement include:

  • Increased energy bills
  • Rust-colored water or other signs of corrosion
  • Persistent noise despite regular maintenance and repairs
  • Leaks around the base

Using a water heater past its prime can lead to inefficiency, potential water damage, and even dangerous situations if leaks are not addressed quickly. If you're encountering these persistent issues, investing in a new water heater may be more cost-effective than paying for ongoing repairs.

At Donmar Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we can guide you through the repair or replacement process, helping you select and install a new water heater when necessary, ensuring that you always have reliable access to hot water. Please send us a message to discuss your options today.

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