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What Would Make a Water Heater Stop Working?

broken water heater with heating elements, on wooden background

Water heaters and the hot water they provide are a convenience that would be incredibly hard to live without in any environment. When this occurs, this can be a big problem, especially if you have to go without hot water for a few days while waiting for a plumber to come out and fix it. So before you call in the pros at Four Seasons Plumbing in Asheville, NC, take a look at these possible reasons why your water heater might not be working:

The Pilot Light is Out

The pilot light is the flame that keeps your water heater running. It can go out for a number of reasons, including:

  • The gas valve is turned off. This one’s pretty straightforward—if you turn off your water heater, the pilot light will go out, and your tank will stop heating up until you turn it back on again.
  • A thermocouple failure. A thermocouple is part of a safety mechanism in many gas-powered water heaters; when it fails and loses contact with its partner piece (the thermocouple), this causes an electrical current to stop flowing through the burner assembly, thus shutting down heat production and extinguishing any flames there might be in the process.

High Mineral Levels in the Water Heater

If you’re noticing a decrease in your water heater’s effectiveness, it may be due to high mineral levels in your water supply. If you want to prevent this from happening to future water heaters and avoid having to replace them prematurely, make sure that you take steps to reduce these mineral levels before installing a new system.

After doing so, if there are still high mineral levels present after installation and use for several weeks, contact a professional plumber who can perform an inspection of your equipment and determine the cause.

The Water Heater’s Gas Valve is Broken

If you’ve had your water heater for a while, the gas valve may be broken. The gas valve is responsible for turning the burner on and off, so it can cause serious problems when it malfunctions. This is one of the most common causes of water heater failure in homes today.

Fortunately, though replacing an old or broken part can seem overwhelming at first glance, it’s easy to do yourself if you know what you’re doing!

If you suspect your gas valve has gone bad and needs to be replaced—or if you have any other issue with your water heater—call a plumber immediately. Don’t try fixing any problems yourself until they’ve been diagnosed by an expert who knows exactly what they’re looking at first!

High Mineral Levels in the Water Heater

Some of the most common causes of water heater failure are mineral build-up and water softener malfunctions. In some cases, even without malfunctioning, mineral deposits can cause your heater to stop working.

If you have a softener installed in your home, it’s essential to check its condition regularly. If you notice that there is the excessive buildup on your water heater or other plumbing fixtures, this may be an indication that there is something wrong with the softener’s operation. To determine whether or not there is a problem with your softener equipment:

  • Turn off all faucets that use softened water so no more fresh water enters the system until repairs have been completed;
  • Flush out all lines by turning on all faucets for 30 minutes (do not use any soap); and
  • Drain as much standing water from the tank as possible before beginning repairs

Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure can cause many hot water problems, including a broken water heater. If the pipes are too small or in bad shape, they’ll be unable to deliver enough water to keep up with your family’s needs.

This isn’t something that you’ll notice right away; however, if you notice that your shower takes longer than usual to heat up and/or that it doesn’t get as hot as it should be (especially in winter), then you may have low water pressure issues.

If your pipes are too small or have mineral deposits that restrict their flow, replacing them could involve cutting through drywall and may require professional assistance.

The Fuel Supply Has Been Shut Off

If you have a gas water heater, the fuel supply to the heater can be shut off by turning off a valve or closing a valve that regulates the gas flow. Depending on your set-up, this could be done at the main service panel or within the gas line leading up to your hot tub.

If you have an electric water heater, then its circuit breaker can be shut off at your service panel.

If you have both a gas and electric water heater in one location (which is becoming more common due to high energy costs), then both systems will need to be shut off in order for any repairs or replacements to take place.

The Water Heater’s Circuit Breaker Has Been Tripped

If you’ve got a water heater that’s tripped the circuit breaker, it’s likely because your unit is being overworked. The circuit breaker is a safety device that trips when too much electricity is being used by one object. That way, the water heater won’t cause a fire or electrocution if something goes wrong.

How do you reset the circuit breaker? It all depends on where it’s located and what kind of setup you have in terms of your power source and wiring. If possible, call an electrician for any work beyond flipping a switch or tightening screws—this can be dangerous if not done properly!

The Water Heater is the Wrong Size for Your Home

It’s important to choose the correct water heater size for your home. Your family’s hot water needs depend on how many people live in your home and how often they use it. A smaller-capacity unit will not be able to provide enough hot water when you need it, while a larger one may end up spending more time heating than necessary and wasting money.

You can find the right size by calculating an estimated daily usage first—or call a professional for help!

The Water Heater Has Loose or Broken Parts

Check the tank, pipes, and other system parts for loose or broken pieces. If you notice corrosion anywhere on these pieces of equipment, replace them as soon as possible as if unchecked, this can reduce corrosion buildup in other areas of your home’s plumbing system.

Call Four Seasons Plumbing in Asheville, NC, for Water Heater Repair

If you are in need of a water heater repair in Asheville, NC, call the professionals at Four Seasons Plumbing. Our team is trained and ready to help you with all of your plumbing needs. We offer a variety of services, including water heater repair, tankless water heater installation, and maintenance. Request a quote today.

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.