Water Heater Repair Guide from Your Chattanooga, TN Plumbing Company

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When there’s a problem with your water heater, you’re usually able to tell. Whether it’s a leaky, noisy tank, a hot water faucet that doesn’t seem to work, or the temperature of the water just isn’t right, the problem is self-evident and fixing it is usually a straightforward matter. So, if you’re confident you can handle minor repair work, roll up your sleeves and start working your magic. Here are a few situations that you may feel comfortable taking matters into your own hands but if you have the slightest apprehension be sure to call your plumber right away!

There’s No Hot Water

When this happens, it’s clear the water heater is not working at all. It’s usually because either the gas or energy supply has been cut off. First, figure out if your water heater runs on gas or electricity. A flue at the top is a tell-tale sign that it’s a gas heater. The flue is a large pipe that carries the gases that come out of the heater and vents it through an opening on your house. You should also be able to find a burner at the bottom.

With electric heaters, repairs are very straightforward. It’s a matter of checking the electricity supply (fuse box, circuit breakers, and safety switches), pressing the rest button inside the electrical panel, or replacing the high-temperature cut-off.

A quick gas water heater repair job involves switching off the gas supply (turn the knob to Pilot mode), taking off the metal cover, and checking the burner and pilot light/ glow plug/ spark igniter.

  • If the pilot light is off, follow the instructions on the tank to light it back up. If it doesn’t turn back on, your thermocouple may need replacing. This is a job for a water heater repairs specialist.
  • If the burner is off, put the cover back on and set the temperature to 120 F. Turn on a hot water faucet and wait to see if the burner ignites. If not, leave the water running and tweak the temperature until it does. If nothing happens still, your thermostat may need replacing by a specialist.

The Isn’t Enough Hot Water

You’ll know there’s something wrong when you run out of hot water mid-way through a shower and that’s never been the case before because your heater is tankless or large enough for your household.

To rule out an issue with the temperature, first ask yourself if outdoor temperatures have fallen drastically and water is cooling faster as it travels through the pipes than it would have done before. Then adjust the dial on your water heater, wait a few minutes, and check a faucet to see if there’s any freshly heated water. If that didn’t do the trick, then some water heater repairs may be in orders.

Check the base of the water heater to see if there’s any leaking or damage. If everything seems fine, then flush the water from the tank with a bowl or hose to clear out any deposits that can build up inside. Also, lift and lower the handle for the temperature-pressure relief valve to drain water through the overflow pipe.

If nothing seems to work, it could be down to the dip tube. This plastic tube supplies cold water and brings it to the bottom of the tank. If it cracks, the cold water inside mixes with the hot water at the top. This is a job for a water heater repair professional, who will be able to repair or replace the dip tube for you.

The Water Is Too Hot

If this happens to you, the obvious solution is to turn the temperature dial down a bit and wait for a couple of hours to see if it has any effect. If there’s no obvious change and you can hear that the water heater is still running, sometimes causing scalding hot water and steam to shoot out of faucets, it’s very likely that the temperature-pressure relief valve is faulty. At this point, fixing this problem involves turning down the water heater and the water supply and allowing it to cool down. Then, simply replace the valve if you’re confident that you can find a replacement at the store, or call a water heater repair expert from Chattanooga, TN.

The Water Smells or Looks Different

When both the cold and hot water tap seem to be affected, then the issue probably lies with the source water. The minerals in your pipes can cause water to smell or have a different color in time. But water filters and softeners can rid you of this problem. A water heater repair professional should be able to fit your home in Chattanooga, TN with a whole house filter and save you a great deal of time and trouble.

When only the hot water seems to be affected, it could be that the sulfates in the water are reacting with the anode rod from the water heater. Run some hot water for a few minutes and notice the smell:

  • If it smells like rotten eggs, then flush the tank. If there’s no change, then you may need to replace the anode rod. Let a water heater repair person do it for you if you’re not comfortable with the idea.
  • If it smells more like garlic (gas), the pilot light may have died out. Set the gas valve control dial to off and clear out the gas smell. If it doesn’t seem to dissipate, waste no time in calling a water heater repair specialist in Chattanooga, TN or your gas utility company. But if it goes away quickly, try relighting the pilot light.

Noisy Water Heater

Noises inside your tank are usually caused by minerals crystalizing and building up inside. Flushing out the water regularly and replacing the anode rod should prevent the buildup of corrosive minerals.

  • Pops and gurgles indicate some type of water sediment (scale, for example) exploding in the tank. It could mean that it’s time to replace your heating elements, if you have an electric heater, or to flush out the sediments from a gas heater.
  • Boiling noises indicate overheating and pressure build-up. Call Metro Plumbing, Heating and Air for water heater repair from Chattanooga, TN right away!