A burst of cold water for your morning shower could be shocking, and the prospect of having to replace your system may compound your surprise. However, a service call may not be the obvious outcome. Before you panic, take time to troubleshoot. You may find a simple explanation for this or other problems.
Inadequate Hot Water
One of the most noticeable issues with a water heater is a lack of hot water. The type of unit you operate will determine how you troubleshoot. If your system is gas-operated, for example, a quick check of the pilot light is important. If the pilot is out, relighting may be all that’s required to restore heating activity. In an electric unit, however, you may need to verify that electric connections are intact. Check your fuse box as well to be certain that a tripped switch isn’t at the root of the problem.
Occasionally, a lack of hot water isn’t related to poor system function. Rather, household usage levels may lead to a depletion of hot water in the tank of your unit. Verify that a dishwasher or washing machine hasn’t been operating in the same time frame during which you noticed the lack of hot water. Check with other members of the household about recent hot water use as well.
If your unit has a low capacity, you may face this problem from time to time, especially during periods of increased household activity or occupancy. You may want to consider water heater replacement to ensure that you have a system that can handle your family’s usage patterns. If your electric unit fails to produce hot water after a short waiting period, however, you may need to consider water heater repairs. A faulty heating element may need to be replaced. In a gas unit, a problem with the pilot light should be handled by a professional for safety reasons.
Low Hot Water Pressure
If your hot water pressure fluctuates or drops significantly, you may be dealing with clogging at some point in the system. Your hot water tank can accumulate sediment over time, and these deposits can move into pipes and connections, restricting the flow of water. Annual draining is recommended to prevent excessive buildup of these materials, and you can handle this activity with a drain hose. Shut off electric and gas connections, attach the hose and open your pressure-relief valve. When clear water flows from the hose, your issue should be resolved. A limited flow of water from the hose may indicate the need for back flushing. If you continue to experience poor hot water pressure after draining or back flushing, you will need to contact a professional for diagnostics and repair.
Issues Requiring Professional Troubleshooting
Some symptoms indicate imminent or urgent need for professional water heater repairs. A leaking tank indicates the need for water heater replacement. Cloudy or rusty water may be attributed to deterioration in your tank, indicating the pending need for replacement as well. Unusual sounds such as banging noises also suggest that you will need professional service.
You can expect a well-maintained unit to last approximately 10 years. The experts at Gartner Heating and Air Conditioning offer annual water heater maintenance services to ensure that you receive optimum performance from your unit. Our Des Plaines IL office can assist with scheduling an appointment for maintenance services or repairs as needed. Call us today.