7 Common Problems For Gas Or Electric Hot Water Heaters and Do It Yourself Solutions (Part 1)

If you have an electric or a gas electric heater in the home chances are you will encounter a problem from time to time. Below is a list of the 7 most common problems and solutions that allow you to handle the repair on your own.

Before you begin any troubleshooting, be sure to turn off the power to the unit by turning off the circuit breaker or fuse. If you have a gas water heater turn the pilot control valve to “pilot”. Also be sure to shut the water off to the unit before you begin.

1. No Hot Water

Possible Faulty Parts:

  • Gas Pilot
  • Gas Thermocouple
  • Gas Pilot Control Valve
  • Electrical Thermostat
  • Upper Electric Heating Element

Possible Repairs:

  • Check the pilot flame and ensure pilot operation is correct.
  • The gas thermocouple may need to be re-tightened, repositioned or possibly replaced.
  • The gas pilot control valve may need replaced.
  • Confirm there is power being provided for an electric water heater and its thermostat, if power is being provided replace the thermostat or the heating element.

2. Inadequate Hot Water

Possible Causes:

  • Undersized unit for the demands.
  • Broken dip tube that is allowing for hot and cold water to mix inside the tank.
  • Faulty electric upper or lower heating elements.
  • Gas supply or control issues.
  • If you are experiencing a constant supply of lukewarm water while using the hot water tap it is most likely a defective upper heating element.
  • If you experience spurts of hot water during a shower it is most likely a defective lower heating element.

Possible Repairs:

  • Ensure that the water heater installed in your home is large enough to handle the demands.
  • Check the dip tube by undoing the cold water inlet and the pipe nipple. Replace if needed.
  • Check for cross connections in the pipes by turning off water supply to the water heater and then opening the hot water tap, if water flows then there is a cross connection in the pipes somewhere in the home.
  • Ensure there is a flame in your gas water heater and that it is bright blue with a yellow tip. If using propane gas the flame should be bluish green with a yellow tip.
  • Check the power source to the upper and lower heating elements.
  • Check power to the electric thermostat.

click here for Part 2 of this blog post.

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Preferred Plumbing & Drain has been providing plumbing services to the Sacramento and surrounding areas since 2004. Preferred Plumbing & Drain is a Licensed Contractor (Contractors License #856944) and a PHCC member.

With Preferred Plumbing & Drain, the estimate is always free and there is no extra charge for nights, weekends, or holidays. There are no trip or travel charges. And you approve the estimate before any work is started.