Whether you have purchased a new hot water heater and are not sure if it is a quality product, or you have inherited a home with a hot water heater that is showing signs of age, there are several areas to keep an eye on to ensure that the hot water keeps coming and that everyone in the home remains safe.
Here are some guidelines for diagnosing potential water heater problems and what you can do to prevent them from happening.
Most Common Water Heater Problems
These are the problems you see most often:
Water can seep from any number of places on a hot water heater. If it is oozing from the top of the heater, you could have a rusted tank, which means that you need a replacement heater as soon as possible. Water seeping from the bottom, with signs of rust, could mean the same verdict.
On the other hand, some condensation is normal with gas heaters. You also might only need a new valve or a tighter connection with the water line.
Consult the article on Water Heater Leaking for more information on this problem.
No Hot Water
As with leaks, the fix for this problem could be minor or it could be time for a new heater. Your water heater could simply be too small for the size of your family. In most cases, no hot water means that the tank has been depleted and you simply need to wait. In other cases, rods in the tank’s interior might need to be replaced, or the thermostat could be ready for the scrap yard. You also might need to simply re-light the pilot light on a gas heater, or clean that area so that the flame remains ablaze.
This can be a tough problem to solve. It results frequently from the composition of well water and its interaction with the rods inside your heater. Replacement of the rods can solve this problem for a time, but if you let the water in your heater stand for long periods of time due to no usage (vacation home, etc.), then you might be doomed to water with an odor on a frequent basis.
See the Smelly Water article on this site for details.
Noisy Water Heater
Finally, if your heater sounds like an aircraft carrier going under, then you could have a huge problem on your hands or it could be the normal sound of cold water making its way to the heat source.
See the Noisy Water Heater article for details.