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Technician servicing an hot-water heater

Tips to Troubleshoot Your Water Heater Problems

Whether it happens during the cold, snowy Boulder, CO winter or the pleasant summer months in the area, encountering an issue with your water heater can be very inconvenient. You depend on your water heater for everything from bathing and cleaning to cooking. That’s why your heart sinks to your stomach when there’s any sign of a problem with this essential appliance. Here, we discuss some common water heater issues and what you can do to troubleshoot.

No Hot Water

If you have an older gas water heater that isn’t putting out hot water, it’s possible that your pilot light has gone out. You can easily check to see if it’s lit and attempt to relight it if it’s gone out. The thermocouple may have become clogged with carbon and need cleaning or replacing.

For electric ignition water heaters, check the breaker to make sure it hasn’t tripped. If this is not the culprit, the electric heating element may need replacing.

Rust-Colored Water

Your water heater could have an issue that causes rust-colored water to come from your tap. The most common problem is an anode rod that needs replacing, which you should do every three to five years.

Other common issues include mineral buildup and corrosion inside the tank. In both of these cases, your water heater isn’t far from springing a leak. One way to help extend the life of your water heater and prevent rust-colored water is to flush the tank annually.

Leaking Water

You may notice water leaking from your unit, from either the top or bottom. The first thing to check is that the water connections are tight and not leaking. If your unit is aging, corrosion could have caused it to spring a leak.

Your water heater has several valves, and any one of them can become faulty. Attempt to identify where the water is coming from, then call a plumber to address the issue if it’s more than a loose connection.

Strange Noises

Your water heater should run nearly silently, aside from a whooshing sound when it starts the heating cycle. Hissing, popping, banging, or knocking sounds may have a variety of causes, including sediment buildup in the bottom of the tank and dirty and clogged parts for the fuel supply.

Start by flushing your water heater to get rid of the sediment at the bottom of the tank. If you’re unfamiliar with the process, hire a plumber to do it for you to prevent accidental scalding. If this doesn’t resolve the problem, have a professional plumber troubleshoot the issue.

Smelly Hot Water

Does your hot water have an unpleasant odor? While this may be a byproduct of having sulfur in your well water, a buildup of bacteria in the tank could also cause the problem. The easiest solution is to make sure your water heater is set to at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If this doesn’t resolve the problem, your tank may need deep cleaning with a chlorine bleach solution.

Make sure your water heater is ready to supply all the hot water you’ll need. Call to schedule your Boulder-area water heater repair with the expert plumbers at Flatirons Plumbing today.