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Common Water Heater Problems and How to Fix Them

When your water heater isn't working, the world is a little more glum than it should be. After all, one of the best parts about waking up in the morning or about coming home from work is being able to take a nice hot shower – especially during those cold Washington winter days. If your hot water heater isn't working properly, it may be exhibiting a few easy-to-pinpoint symptoms.

Common problems

A few readily identifiable issues that could arise with your hot water heater include:

  • Lack of hot water or not enough hot water.

  • Noises in the pipes.

  • Something "off" about the water – i.e., water that smells like rotten eggs or is discolored.

If you think your appliance is exhibiting any of these symptoms, it may be time to get out the tool belt. First, however: Shut off the water supply to the device, turn off the power flowing to an electric heater and turn a gas appliance's pilot control valve to the "pilot" setting.

Gas water heaters

When you're not getting any hot water – or not enough – out of your gas heater, the first thing you should do is check the pilot and the control valve. If there is a problem with the thermocouple, it may be a bigger concern. Just make sure when you're working with these kinds of appliances that gas isn't escaping – because this could lead to an explosion. Be certain the pilot is lit and the burner is working before you leave the area to negate that particular danger.

Electric water heaters

Let's say your hot water heater is slow to work or doesn't work at all, you may only need to replace the heating elements in order to fix it for good. Replacement elements are relatively inexpensive and can be found at your local hardware store. However, if that doesn't work, you may need to delve deeper – the problem could be with the thermostat or the cutoff switch. In this scenario, it may be best to consult a professional before testing these things.

These are some common water heater problems and a few solutions to get you started, but if you run into any further issues or simply want a professional assessment, get in touch with your local plumbing professional at Roto-Rooter today.

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