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Water Heater Issues? What to do in a Pinch

One feature of our home that we rarely think about is the water heater. At least we rarely think about it when it is working as when something goes wrong, it is at the top of our list of priorities. Often water heater issues are easy to troubleshoot as these tips demonstrate.

No Hot Water

If you turn on the faucet and there is no hot water, it can be very annoying. When this happens, it means the heater is not working at all and, in most cases, it is because an energy source is not producing heat. Repairing this problem will depend on whether you have a gas or electric hot water heater. In either case, one of the first things to do is make sure the heater is turned on. Check the breakers if your heater is electric to be sure it did not kick off for some reason. If it is gas, check to see that the pilot is lit. On a gas heater, if the pilot light is not on, follow the instructions on the water heater to light it.

Not Enough Hot Water

If your hot water heater does not produce enough hot water, the first thing to do is to adjust the temperature. You can usually do this with a dial on the front of the heater. If that doesn’t work, you may need to replace the hot water heater with a larger one, especially if this happens often. Check for leaks around the water heater as well. You should flush the water heater periodically to remove mineral deposits which could make it less efficient.

Water is Too Hot

If the water is too hot, turn down the temperature using the thermostat dial. Mark the original setting with a felt-tip pen before you change it. Wait a few hours and see if that solves the problem. If it doesn’t, check to see if there is steam or boiling sounds in the hot water heater. If so, it may be that the temperature-pressure valve is no longer working. If this is the case, you need to have the water heater repaired as soon as possible as excessively hot water can be dangerous.

Strange Odors

If your hot water has an odd odor or is discolored, you may have water with a high level of sulfates that is reacting with the anode rod in the water heater. This reaction will cause a smell like rotten eggs and can be resolved by changing the anode rod. If the water has a garlic scent, the pilot may have gone out on a gas water heater. Relighting the pilot will resolve the odor.

If none of these troubleshooting tips work to repair your water heater, you will want to reach out to a qualified repair person from an HVAC services company. They will have the tools necessary to troubleshoot your problem and get your hot water back operational quickly.

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