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Water Heater and Maintenance

Water Heaters are one of the most imperative elements of the household. They play a vital role in our daily lives. Water Heaters use an insulated storage tank jacket made of steel to reduce heat loss of the heated water. There are two sources for heating water in North America. These are Electric and Gas operated systems.

Electric Water Heaters source their heated water by upper and lower heating elements that extend into the water tank. Like oven heating elements, the heating elements in a water heater use an electrical current that passes through them to warm the water. Each heating element is controlled by a separate thermostat.

Gas Water Heaters use a gas burner sourced from natural gas that heats the water below the tank. To indicate the water heater is heating the water, the Pilot Light will turn on.

Here are some examples of common issues with Water Heaters and helpful tips to get it running at its full capacity:

1. No Hot Water Coming From My Electrical Water Heater

This could be a sign that your system has hit its tripped limit and turned on the tripped limit switch. The first course of action is to check the circuit breaker. If the breaker has indeed tripped, switch it off and switch it on a gain.

If the heater’s breaker did not trip and is still on, try resetting the high-temperature limit on the heater. To do this you need to:

  • Turn off the breaker to the water heater’s circuit in the service panel and remove the access panel for the upper heating element on the water heater.
  • Remove the insulation and the plastic safety guard. Do not touch any wires or electrical terminals.
  • Press the red button (high temperature cutoff reset button) located above the upper thermostat. Place the safety guards, insulation, and access panel back on the unit and turn the heater’s circuit breaker back on.

If these steps don’t get the hot water back on, it is recommended that you call Sterling Plumbing & Heating for maintenance and servicing of your water heater system.

2. Water Temperature Is Too Hot

If your water temperature is too hit, this means that your water heater’s thermostats are set too high. The recommended temperature setting is usually between 115 and 125 F.

To fix this you first need to turn the water heater off at the unit’s circuit breaker and remove the access panel. You will need to adjust the temperature on both heating element thermostats. This is done by turning the temperature dial on the thermostats by using a flathead screwdriver. Be sure to adjust both thermostats to the same setting. When you’re satisfied with the temperature selected, turn the heater’s circuit breaker back on.

3. Water Leak

A water leak is usually caused by a leaking valve and plumbing connection. This needs to be attended to as soon as possible to avoid damage to your home. If the connections look loose try to tighten them, but if they appear to be corroded, they need to be replaced.

If the tank is leaking and appears corroded it is unlikely it can be repaired and will have to be replaced. If you notice your water heater tank is leaking, turn of the power and water supply to the system. The next step is to drain the tank. It will need to be drained completely to stop the leaking.

If you notice your Water Heater is leaking, the best solution is to always call Sterling Plumbing & Heating. When it comes to your household water supply, you can’t take chances.

4. Rust-Coloured Water Or Bad Odour:

If the water coming out of the faucet is discoloured or the water does not smell normal there are a couple possible causes:

  • The first is possible corrosion occurring inside your water heater tank or in the pipes in your home. This is something that needs to be inspected by our team at Sterling Plumbing & Heating.
  • The second is potential bacteria in the water heater tank. You may need to replace the anode rod in the tank. It is suggested that you call our specialists at Sterling Plumbing & Heating to perform this repair.

5. Noisy Water Heater Tank

A low rumbling, low popping noise or high-pitched whining noise coming from your water heater tank could mean that your system is boiling water. This is not normal for electrical or gas systems and is a sign that the temperature on the thermostat is set too high.

A potential cause of this is an excessive buildup of sediment in the bottom of the tank which causes the water to overheat and boil. The first option for this issue is to drain the tank to remove the sediment. If the issue persists, you may need to replace the tank.

6. Pilot Will Not Light

If the pilot light on your gas water heater will not light or is struggling to stay lit, this could come down to a few things:

  • There could be a blockage in the gas valve. If this occurs it is recommended to change the valve.
  • The pilot orifice is clogged. If this is the case, you need to remove it and clean it.
  • The pilot supply line is kinked or clogged. This is an issue that can’t be cleaned and needs to be replaced.
  • The thermocouple probe is not in the pilot flame or the thermocouple is not tight at the gas valve. If either of these issues occur, you need to call our experts at Sterling Plumbing & Heating for maintenance and servicing of your water heater.
  • Main burner is partially clogged causing the pilot light to inconsistently light. This element needs to be removed and cleaned by the professionals at Sterling Plumbing & Heating.

7. Not Enough Water

Your Gas Water Heater not producing enough hot water could be an issue with the unit itself or the size of the unit.

If you have noticed that the tank is no longer producing as much hot water as it previously did, there are some possible reasons for this. There are some things you can check:

  • The thermostat may be malfunctioning. If this is the case it is recommended to change the gas control valve.
  • The burner orifice is partially clogged. This must be cleaned.
  • The water heater dip tube could be broken or cracked. Remove the dip tube and check for imperfections. If you see anything broken the dip tube will need to be replaced.
  • Low gas pressure. If you notice any low gas pressure, this must be checked and repaired by the professionals.

In some cases, the water heater that was installed may require a larger tank for your family’s needs. In an average gas water heater tank, you should be receiving around 75 percent of the water heater tank’s capacity. Any less than this means your system needs maintenance and servicing.   

If you have noticed that you’re still not receiving enough hot water after employing these possible solutions, the issue could be that your water heater needs to be upgraded.

Our plumbing experts at Sterling Plumbing & Heating pride ourselves on finding solutions to suit almost any budget. Contact us to experience our superior service.