If your water heater is leaking, not getting hot enough, or making a lot of noise, it’s most likely time to call a plumber, but first, it’s good to do some investigation. Water heaters can be a significant investment, so you want to ensure it lasts as long as possible.
It’ll help gather as much information as possible before you call your local plumber. There are some essential items to check, so please read on…
Is there leaking water?
If there is water on the floor around your water heater, you need to shut off the power and turn off the water supply. Once you’ve done that, check for any signs of corrosion or damage on the exterior of your unit. If there are any cracks or holes, that could be the source of the leak.
If there are no obvious cracks, move on to step two: Check the water lines.
Check all connections between your hot and cold water lines and ensure they’re secure before jumping too deep into troubleshooting mode.
If everything looks good on the outside, check for drips from where your tank sits in its enclosure—this might indicate there is some internal damage caused by rusting pipes or other structural issues with your appliance. If no visible evidence points toward a leaky pipe somewhere inside or outside of your heater, then it may be time for an upgrade.
How old is it?
If your water heater is over ten years old, it may be time for a replacement. Most manufacturers recommend replacing a water heater after ten years of use, but this can vary depending on the quality of your unit and how much maintenance has been done.
The water heater won’t turn on.
- Check the thermostat. If you have a gas water heater and it’s not heating, check the pilot light and make sure it’s lit. There should be a window on the unit where you can see if it’s on or not. You may only need to relight the pilot light.
- Check for power to the unit. Try plugging something else into the outlet (like a lamp) to see if there’s power to the outlet. If not, check your electrical panel and see if any breakers need to be reset.
- Check indicator lights. There could be a power issue if no lights come on after holding down the “test” button.
IMPORTANT: Gas leaks
Gas leaks can be dangerous and hard to detect. If you smell gas, leave the building immediately. Do not turn on or off any lights or appliances, do not touch anything electrical or electronic, including your landline or cell phone. Wait to call for help until you are safely outside the house!
If you smell gas in your home, call 911 immediately from a neighbor’s house or other safe location outside your home. Explain there is a gas leak inside your house and stay outside until they arrive at your location.
IMPORTANT: Carbon monoxide poisoning
If you heat with natural gas, a broken water heater can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Because carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless it can easily go undetected. You may not even realize you’re being exposed to it until you begin feeling dizzy, nauseous, or get a headache.
Proper venting can help ensure carbon monoxide escapes instead of accumulating in the house. Check for condensation or corrosion on the top of the water heater. It could be from moist exhaust gasses escaping from the water heater.
The only way to tell if there is carbon monoxide leak is with a carbon monoxide detector. You should have carbon monoxide levels checked professionally and install a carbon monoxide detector near your water heater, and on every floor of your home.
Are any red lights on?
If you see red lights on your water heater, it’s time to check for problems.
- Flashing lights: If the lights are flashing, it could mean there is a thermostat problem, the pilot light is out, the tank is empty or won’t fill, or there is a power or electrical issue. If you haven’t done so, check your circuit breaker and ensure it hasn’t tripped. If this doesn’t solve your issue, call an electrician to investigate further before troubleshooting yourself.
- Solid red light: A solid red status light means the water heater is shutting down. This typically means there is a failure in whichever system you’re using to heat the water. You may need an experienced electrician as well as a licensed plumber.
Low hot water pressure
If you have low water pressure throughout the house, it could be caused by a clogged filter. If so, you’ll need to replace your water heater filter. If the low water pressure is in one bathroom but not the other, it could mean that there’s a clog or other issue with the plumbing.
Rust and corrosion may be the issue.
Rust and corrosion are signs of a problem with your tank. Rust can be caused by mineral deposits, water quality, or age. In some cases, rust may not be visible, but it will still affect the performance of your water heater. This is especially true if you have an electric model that uses copper wiring to heat your water. If there is any corrosion in this area, it could cause leaks which could damage your home or cause flooding when they occur unexpectedly.
While these issues might seem minor compared to other problems like leaks from valves or thermostats breaking down after years of use – they can still cause severe damage if left unchecked for too long.
Need help repairing your water heater?
Old age and wear and tear can affect water heaters, which may cause them to leak. If your water heater has been in use for over ten years, it is recommended you replace the unit before any severe damage occurs. Water heater leaks in the internal shell are difficult to spot, but occur because of age and deterioration in most cases. These are usually easy fixes but should still be addressed immediately so as not to cause further problems in your home’s plumbing system later on.
If your water heater is leaking, not getting hot enough, or making a lot of noise, it’s time to call a plumber to get water heater repair near you. At Benjamin Plumbing, we have over 60 years of experience fixing these problems and can help quickly get your water heater back on track!