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Can a water heater be repaired?

water heater along wall

Water Heater Repair vs Replacement

A water heater is an appliance we take for granted every day. They can quit working with no warning. Many times, the water heater will give you hints that it is about to quit. If you don’t know what those indicators are though, you could experience either of the situations we’ve described.  For a water heater repair or replacement, there are many questions, and we have answers to some of them here.  With these answers, we intend to provide our readers with enough information to make informed decisions in water heater repairs and more. 

What would cause a hot water heater to stop working?

There is a variety of things that can lead to the water heater to stop working. Here we have provided a list of those things for both electric water heaters and gas water heaters that may or may not necessitate water heater repair or replacement:

An Electric Water Heater

  • Circuit Breaker Tripped – like all major appliances, the water heater requires a dedicated circuit. It is easily spotted in the circuit box because it will be flipped the opposite direction of the other breakers. Simply flip the breaker back in the on position to reset it. If it trips back to off, you should contact an electrician.
  • Faulty Heating Element – this is the most common problem when electric water heaters stop working and will need to be replaced.
  • Faulty Thermostat – there are two thermostats in an electric water heater. The upper unit controls the two heating elements inside the tank and if you’re not getting any hot water at all, this is often the culprit. If the water isn’t hot enough, this thermostat could be the culprit. In either case, a water heater repair is simply to replace the faulty unit is your solution.

Those are the three main causes when a water heater stops working that may require water heater repair or even replacement. Some other possible causes could be:

  • Accidental Grounding – something could be laying across the wiring connections, disrupting the power to the water heater.
  • Tripped Reset Button – an electric water heater will have a reset button. For a variety of reasons, that button could fail or simply was triggered and shut off the heating unit inside. You can simply push the reset button and if the water heater stays on, great! But if it repeatedly trips off, the button itself could be the problem, or it could indicate something more serious.
  • Wire Short – a direct short can be caused by wiring that is frayed or scratching other surfaces. This should be replaced immediately by an experienced electrician.
  • Water Leak – this is an obvious issue as we described in a possible scenario earlier. Sometimes this can be remedied by tightening connections, but if that doesn’t stop the leak, you’ll need to replace your water heater.
  • Breaker or Fuse is Undersized – this can be fixed by replacing the breaker or fuse with higher amperage.  
  • Breaker Too Weak – as circuit breakers age, they may begin to fail. This is a simple repair by replacing the breaker.

A Gas Water Heater

Problems that may require water heater repair for a gas unit versus an electric unit are different. A gas water heater will require extra precautions when checking for problems and making repairs. We recommend it for a do-it-yourself gas water heater repair that you should be 100% confident in what to do and your abilities to carry through. Otherwise, calling a professional plumber is the best option.

Before making that phone call to a plumber, here are some things you can check:

  • Gas Supply
  • Pilot Light
  • Thermocouple
  • Gas Line
  • Pilot Orifice
  • Supply line
  • Gas Control Valve
  • Burner
  • Ventilation

What are the signs your hot water heater is going out?

As we just covered, many factors that could be wrong and determining if a water heater repair is possible or if a replacement is necessary. Signs that your water heater is headed for possible failure are:

Noises

A water heater that has popping or rumbling sounds is an indicator water heater repair is needed. This usually happens because the annual flushing we recommended above wasn’t done, and there is a build-up of minerals and sediments creating air pockets in the tank. If it has just started making these noises, flushing may stop it and prolong the need for water heater repair or replacement.

Cloudy Water

When the water has a cloudy appearance, or if it smells or tastes like metal, water heater repair won’t fix this problem. This shows the minerals that have settled in the water’s bottom heater tank are now in the pipes. Over time, the faucets will become clogged, slowing the flow down and turning the water coming out to an orange or red. 

Pressure Relief Valve

This valve is in place to release pressure if the water heater temperature reaches a dangerous level. Any build-up or corrosion in the water heater tank or the waterlines to the tank can keep the pressure relief valve from opening. When it comes to checking the pressure relief valve, there are two key symptoms to check:

  • Is it leaking?
  • Is the hot water not flowing through the pipe?

To avoid damage and danger by a non-working safety relief valve, call an experienced, licensed plumber immediately. It is possible that water heater repair, but non-experienced hands should not attempt to handle this issue.

Water Tank Leaking

Build-up and corrosion inside the water heater tank can cause it to crack. This is beyond any water heater repair, making replacement necessary. This can often be from the pressure relief valve not working, which can be from sediment in the tank’s bottom, caused by not flushing the tank. 

Should I replace my water heater before it fails?

Any water heater that is ten years old or older, replacing the unit should consider it. If there have been any water heater repairs done and you notice any warning signs we’ve discussed, consider a replacement. 

How do you know when your water heater needs replacing?

As we discussed in the beginning, the water heater is an essential appliance in every home. If your current model is nearing its life expectancy, or you have had several water heater repairs done, it is time to replace it. We have covered the signs that will tell you when your water heater is headed to possible failure, but we want to review them for you again:

  • Hot Water Comes Out Rusty – If the hot water is coming out rusty, this usually shows the water heater is rusted inside and could begin leaking. You can check this by filling 3 or 4 five-gallon buckets and if the water is rusty in all of them, you need a replacement water heater. 
  • Not Enough Hot Water – If you run out of hot water before you finish your shower, this is the most common sign that a water heater is failing.  Sometimes, a water heater repair can fix this, depending on the age of the unit.
  • Noisy and Rumbling – As water heaters age, they collect sediment on the bottom of the tanks. Each time the unit heats the water, it also is heating the sediment. Over time, that sediment will harden, and not only is it wasting energy, but that sediment is taking up space where water should be.
  • Leaking – Naturally, metal expands as it heats and if your water heater has any cracks or fractures, the water can begin leaking from it. Depending on where your water heater is, it could cause a lot of damage to your home.
Water heater and boiler

How many years does a hot water heater last?

On average, a water heater in a residential setting will last from 6 years to 12 years, sometimes longer. Many factors that can determine that lifespan, such as where the water heater is, the hardness of the water in your house, and if you’ve had any water heater repairs done over the years. Once you have reached that 12-year mark, you probably should start shopping and budgeting for a replacement unit. Keep in mind, a water heater is much like your HVAC system or a gas furnace, annual maintenance is required to extend the longevity. The recommended annual flushing could extend the life of your water heater for a few more years. Need water heater repair in Menifee, CA? Call 833-663-2447 today for quality repair from ONE NATIONAL PLUMBING.

Seasonal Plumbing Maintenance

Close Up of Icicles Hanging From A Frozen Brown Pipe

Benefit From These Tips

The seasons come and the seasons go, yet one thing that remains with your home or business systems are your plumbing. Your plumbing is an essential part of providing fresh water into your home and wastewater out, yet these two main plumbing lines also have various snaking connective drain lines that connect to your kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. With all of these numerous connections, something is bound to go wrong eventually. That’s where a seasonal plumbing maintenance schedule will come in handy.

Winter

As the season change, your plumbing pipes, fixtures, appliances, and connections will react differently. Take for instance the wintertime, freeze thaws are the number one concern for plumbing pipes as they can freeze the water and pipes to the point where water will not run through and the pressures of solidified water expanding in the pipes can cause cracks to worsen or pipes to burst. That’s why before winter occurs consider insulating your pipes at least in unheated areas such as the garage or apply heat tape on exposed pipes. These measures can prevent the risk of freezing once temperatures drop.

Spring

When springtime comes around, it’s naturally time for spring cleaning. In order to prevent and slab leaks that occur from water infiltration in the soil causing foundational movement, check your gutters and downspouts for clogged leaves, nests or debris and clear them out. It’s important to have smoothly flowing drain avenues away from your landscaping and that comes from cleared gutter debris. Some things to check on are your sump pumps by making sure to add water to the pit in order to make sure that they are able to properly break down waste. It’s also important to check the outdoor water faucets to make sure that water is running through correctly after the colder temperatures. Due to this make sure that there aren’t any leaks around them as well as the hose bibs.

Summer

As summer approaches and you have a pool take a look for leaks and walk around the edge of the pool to look for any eroded areas or wet soil. Standing water can occur when there is excess water in the yard from leaking pipes or damaged sewer lines. As standing water is a breeding ground for bacteria, germs, and insects it’s best to check that your sewer system is working properly. If areas of the yard are too wet or there is unnatural growth abundance chances are there is a sewage leak as it acts as fertilizer as well. With ant mineral build-up with restricted water flow and volume, it may be necessary to replace the pipes or access the mainline cleanout area.

Autumn

When Autumn hits it’s time to disconnect outside water hoses in order to prevent freezing water and pipe breaks. Shut off water valves for the outside lines and drain them. Flush and clean out your water heater and set it to 120℉ for optimal performance. Inspect and clean the sump pump and pit. Finally, clean your gutters and downspouts to allow for easier drainage before winter hits.

Four Seasons In Side to Side Collage of Pictures

General List of Plumbing Check-Ups

  • Tighten Connections
  • Check Pipes/Drains For Leaks
  • Maintain Clean/Clear Pipes
  • Check Sump Pumps
  • Check Water Heater
  • Clear Gutters

Water Heater

Another thing to stay afloat with is your water heater. Those with tank systems are more susceptible to this than tankless systems yet both can naturally cause mineral build-up. That’s because hard water could travel through both from the greater municipal line, with hard water however you’ll have calcium and magnesium. These two elements will naturally create mineral build-up which will reduce the water heater’s capacity or affect the heating rods by causing them to corrode. A good way to prevent this is to have a whole house water purification system installed on your main water line before water passes through the water heating system of your property. A water purifier will prevent small and large particles alike from distributing in the rooms of your property which can benefit your drains in their longevity and cleanliness. 

If Away From The Property

If you are leaving the property for an extended period of time be sure to shut off the main water valve and drain the system by opening faucets at the highest and lowest points of elevation in the house. Have the heat set no lower than 55℉. 

Rely On A Professional Plumber

To benefit from clean and clear plumbing lines find out more about seasonal plumbing maintenance tips from a professional plumbing company. Only with a professional plumber will you be able to benefit from plumbing inspections that will notify you of areas to pay particular attention to as the seasons change. With seasonal plumbing maintenance, you’ll be able to catch and remedy problems areas as they occur instead of much later after they’ve progressed to needing dull on plumbing repairs or replacements.

To find out more maintenance tips about plumbing in Menifee, CA call 833-663-2447 with ONE NATIONAL PLUMBING!