You depend upon your hot water heater for showers and baths, dishwashing, laundry, cooking, etc. We take our hot water for granted most of the time, never giving it a second thought. That is, until it’s suddenly not there. Or perhaps it’s still there, but the supply has lessened considerably, or is taking longer to recover. Either way, you can’t get by in that way for very long. The checklist below will help you discover the source of the problem.
Do Any of These Problems Sound Familiar?
- Pilot light is out. If your home has a gas hot water heater and your hot water supply is suddenly stone cold, the chances are good your pilot light has gone out. Consult your owner’s manual and follow the instructions to relight it.
- Gas leak. If you notice a gas (or rotten egg) smell around the hot water heater, a gas leak in the line going into your water heater is likely. This is a job for the professionals and is a potential emergency. Leave your home immediately, then call for help. Gas leaks can cause serious fires or explosions.
- Failed heating element. If you have hot water but the supply is less than it used to be, or the water is taking a long time to heat up after use, it’s possible the heating element is failing.
- Sediment. Hot water heaters can fill up with sediment over time. This is especially true in areas with hard water. This problem can be alleviated with regular cleaning or flushing of the contents (consult your owner’s manual) or by installing a water softening system. Rusting is also a possibility, in which case the hot water heater will need to be replaced.
- Thermostat. Another frequent cause of water heating problems is a thermostat that is set too low. Adjusting it may fix the problem, but be sure not to set it too high. Another possibility is a failure of the thermostat.
If your hot water supply has lessened or doesn’t exist at all, we’ll be happy to help. Just call our expert plumbers at Plumbing Solutions of Idaho for 24/7 service.
By Tim Smith
Published: May 13, 2015