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Common Water Heater Problems And Troubleshooting Tips

common water heater problems and troubleshooting tips

Water heaters are essential appliances that have a massive impact on your home. They work very hard to ensure your faucets have a supply of hot water every time you need it. But just like any other appliances, they experience problems or may stop working at their optimal level.

You don’t want your water to fail when you need it the most. So learn to troubleshoot your water heater now to prevent future problems and ultimately a need for a new water heater installation.

Below are some common water heater problems and troubleshooting tips to ensure your water heater stays functional.

Water Temperature Problems

Water temperature issues are some of the most common water heater problems you have to deal with. These problems can range from water being cold, water not adequately hot, and water that is too hot. Let’s discuss each issue, its possible cause, and ideal water heater repairs in Asheville.

Water is Cold

Cold water can be an indication your water heater is not getting power, or the thermostat and heating elements are not working. If you have a gas-powered system, ensure that the pilot light is lit. First, check if the power connection is okay, reset the power limit breakers, and replace any blown fuses to rule out any possible power problems.

For gas systems, if there is no pilot light then you may not be getting gas to the unit. You may simply need to re-ignite the pilot light. If it won’t ignite, call for professional help. You may have a more serious problem.

Water Not Adequately Hot

Warm water, but not hot enough, may result from an undersized unit, which cannot meet the heating demands. It could also arise from a faulty heating element or thermostat issues.

Problems related to the undersized water heater, thermostat, and other heating elements are better handled by a professional water heater repair.

Water is Too Hot

Water that is too hot is almost always an issue with thermostat settings. You may have set the thermostat too high, and you need to adjust it. The recommended thermostat setting by the U.S. Department of Energy is 120° F. This not only provides optimum water temperature but also enhances power efficiency.

Water leaks

Water heater leaks are serious problems that could lead to water damage to electrical components. There are many causes of water leaks, including;

• Faulty temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve
Leaking water tank
• Excess water pressure
Stuck valve
• Poor plumbing connection
• Overheating
• Loose heating element bolts
• Bad gaskets

The first thing you should do is to check if the T&P valve is leaking and flush all the debris. You should then reduce excess water pressure by adjusting the thermostat setting.

Next is to look for loose plumbing connections. Tighten them until they no longer leak, but be careful not to over-tighten them. You should also look for loose heating elements and tighten them as well. If they still leak, you may need help from a professional technician to replace the gasket.

The last thing to examine for leaks is your storage tank. Leaking of storage tanks may be due to corrosion from the inside or damaged O-rings. If you don’t address the corrosion in time, you may eventually replace the whole water heater.


Odd noises coming from your tank are a clear sign you need to carry out serious water heater repairs. If you hear low rumbling sounds, then that may be the sound of boiling water. This occurs when sediments build up in the water heater, leading to overheating. The best way to deal with this is by flushing the water heater.

Other times, your water heater can also produce a high-pitched sound. This indicates a more severe water heater problem where there is scale buildup that can lead to lower efficiency and performance. You should first flush the water heater before cleaning the scales using vinegar.

If there is too much sediment buildup, you can contact a professional to clear it. If it is beyond repair, you may need a new water heater installation with heating elements that have a larger surface area to improve efficiency.

Discolored Water

Rust-colored water or bad odor is probably a sign of corrosion inside the water heater tank due to a failing heating element. You may want to call a water heater technician to determine if you only need a heating element replaced, or you need a complete water heater replacement.

The foul odor coming from the water is due to hydrogen released by the decaying element. To get rid of the smell, you’ll have to treat your tank and pipes with a solution of water and hydrogen peroxide after replacing the failed element.

Always stay ahead of possible water heater problems by knowing these signs of a failing unit. Identifying water heater problems early and doing the required heater repairs can save you lots of money and trouble. It is usually cheaper to make repairs at an early stage than waiting until a problem becomes bigger. Besides, early repairs make your water heater more energy efficient and, therefore, cutting on energy costs.

Need water heater repair, inspection, or replacement services in the Asheville, NC area? Professional water heater experts at Four Seasons Plumbing can help. Contact us today, and we’ll be glad to offer the best water repair services!

Max Rose - Owner of Four Seasons Plumbing


Max Rose

Max Rose is the owner of Four Seasons Plumbing, a plumbing company in Asheville, North Carolina.