An Introduction To Our Newsletter & How To Diagnose A Water Heater

Today I wanted to discuss water heaters and how to solve any problems that could be occurring with it. For those of you unfamiliar with what water heaters are, they are those big tanks usually hidden in a closet in your apartment or outside on a side of the house. What they do is simple, they heat water that is used for showering, washing dishes, and whatever other activities require hot water. 30% of your electric bill is made up of the consumption of hot water. Like a car that needs to be inspected once or twice a year for excess emissions, it is important to make sure that your water heater is running efficiently, instead of wasting.

Issues that go without saying such as no hot water, inadequate hot water, and water leaking from the base of the heater should be a red flag and need to be assessed as soon as possible, also issues such as rust colored water and rotten egg odor, shouldn’t need a red flag because, well… it smells and if it’s happened to you then this newsletter must serve as a reminder of that unfortunate time(sorry). Other issues that can arise are rumbling, popping, and high pitched whining noises. I will try to help you with these problems as best as I can.

First, shut down the heater, which can be done by switching off the circuit breaker or fuse. Locate the gas control valve, and turn it so it is on the pilot setting. Lastly, shut down the water that is being supplied to the heater.

Everyone has jumped in the shower, and jumped right back out realizing the water is not warm at all, it happens. This could mean 3 things, the gas pilot or its control valve isn’t working, or the thermocouple is faulty.

  1. Light a match to the orifice and turn on the gas valve (if there is a reset button, make sure you are pressing it throughout this process, once the fire is bright, you can release). If the pilot flame just isn’t working then you will need to call a technician.
  2. The thermocouple can be tightened or repositioned if needed, if that doesn’t work you will need to replace the thermocouple.

Inadequate hot water occurs when you are using hot water, and it suddenly changes to cold water, this could happen while taking a nice warm bath and then cold water abruptly interrupts your randevu.

  1. Usually this means the water heater size can be undersized for demands, make sure your water heater’s capacity is at 75%.
  2. There could be a faulty dip tube which is allowing hot and cold water to mix. Remove the dip tube and check if it is in good condition, if not replace it.
  3. Another common problem is there could be a crossed connection, shut down the water supply, open a faucet, and if water comes out, then locate where the hot water line might be connected to a cold water connection which is causing this issue.
  4. Burner flame should be burning properly, flame should be bright blue with the top having a splash of yellow.

Rusty water can mean there is a corrosion going on or an anode rod is going bad. Anode rods are meant to protect the water from going rusty.

  1. A bad anode rode requires buying a new one (preferably magnesium), shutting down the tank, and flushing out the water.
  2. A corrosion will require the help of a plumber.

A rotten egg smell is caused from bacteria and decay in the tank. This requires flushing out the water heater and inserting hydrogen peroxide.

Noises such as rumbling, popping, and high whining, can mean

  1. There is excessive sediment building up on the bottom of the tank, you can remove sediment by flushing out the water.

Water leaks on the base of the heater can be a range of things: a bad temperature and relief valve, a leak in the overhead or connection, or a corrosion.

  1. Flush the valve, if leaking continues, replace it.
  2. You can reduce the temperature on the valve, because it could be overheating, thus causing the leak. (picture a boiling teapot)
  3. You should inspect the bottom of the tank (combustion chamber), if there is rust, water marks, or water itself, then the combustion chamber needs to be replaced.

I hope this newsletter can help you in someway, whether it is just becoming more informed on water heaters(knowledge is power), or saving money by diagnosing/solving water heater problems yourself. If there are any questions or suggestions, I would love to hear them. I’ve listed our contact info below, feel free to email me, tweet me, facebook me, google+ me, or even instagram me. If you need a quote, free estimate, or a service give me a call. Also take a look at our instagram to see pictures of the kind of work we’re doing so you can get an idea of our quality of work. Thank you for reading and hope you have a great rest of the week.

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