Common Water Heater Problems and Solutions

By Brian on August 8, 2023


Welcome to the world of plumbing—where water heaters play a pivotal role in ensuring a smooth, comfortable lifestyle. Whether you’re just kicking back with a relaxing hot bath after a long day or you’re washing a pile of dishes, your water heater is a silent hero that keeps your home running smoothly. But what happens when this unsung hero faces issues?

Brief Introduction to Go Pro Plumbing

Imagine this: It’s a chilly winter morning, and you’re about to take a hot shower. But the only thing that greets you is an icy blast of water. Sounds like a nightmare, right? This is a common scenario faced by many homeowners when their water heater decides to take an unexpected break.

Importance of Water Heater Maintenance

Regular maintenance of your water heater plays a significant role in preventing such unpleasant surprises. Moreover, it can extend the lifespan of the unit, improve its efficiency, and save you from costly repairs or replacements down the line. After all, prevention is always better than cure.

Overview of Common Water Heater Problems

But despite your best efforts, problems can still occur. From no hot water or inadequate hot water to unexpected leaks, there’s a range of issues that could disrupt your water heater’s normal functioning. However, understanding these problems and knowing how to troubleshoot them can make all the difference. So, let’s dive into the common water heater problems and their solutions to ensure you’re never left in the cold again.

Understanding Your Water Heater

Just like any other household appliance, your water heater is not immune to problems. However, a basic understanding of its types, functioning, and lifespan can go a long way in helping you diagnose and troubleshoot issues when they arise. Besides, if you know what to expect from your water heater, you can take preventive measures to avoid potential problems.

Types of Water Heaters

There are two main types of water heaters: electric and gas-fueled. Both types use an insulated storage tank jacket made of steel, with insulation between the storage tank and the tank jacket to reduce heat loss. The main difference between these lies in the heat source. Electric water heaters use upper and lower heating elements that extend into the water tank to heat the water. On the other hand, gas water heaters have a gas burner that heats the water from below the tank.

How a Water Heater Works

Regardless of its type, a water heater operates on a simple principle. When you turn on the hot water tap, cold water enters the tank and pushes the hot water out to the tap. The heating element or gas burner then heats the cold water. A thermostat maintains the water in the tank at a set temperature, usually between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, ensuring you always have hot water whenever you need it.

Lifespan of a Water Heater

The lifespan of a water heater can vary dramatically depending on its type, quality, and maintenance. However, the average lifespan is about 10 to 15 years for a typical residential water heater. Regular inspection and maintenance can extend this lifespan and ensure efficient operation. On the other hand, neglecting regular maintenance or ignoring minor issues can lead to more significant problems, reducing the lifespan of your water heater.

Remember, as your water heater ages, it might start showing signs of wear and tear, such as leaks, rust-colored water, or a reduction in the amount of hot water. If you’re experiencing any of these issues, it might be time to consider a replacement. However, before you do, make sure to have a professional assess the problem. It might be something that can be fixed, sparing you the cost of a new water heater.

Common Water Heater Problems

The silent hero in every home, the water heater rarely gets the attention it deserves until something goes wrong. The frustration of a cold shower or leakage can suddenly bring this overlooked appliance into sharp focus. Here’s a rundown of the most common water heater problems you might encounter.

No Hot Water

One of the most obvious and inconvenient issues is a complete lack of hot water. This could be caused by several factors, such as a tripped circuit breaker or a failure of one or more heating elements. If you find yourself shivering in a cold shower, these are the first things you should check.

Inadequate Hot Water

If your hot water supply seems to run out too quickly, you might have an undersized unit or faulty heating elements. A water heater should provide around 75% of its capacity as hot water. For example, a 40-gallon water heater should meet a demand of 30 gallons. If it doesn’t, you might need to replace the heating elements or consider upgrading your unit.

Water Temperature Is Too High

On the opposite end of the spectrum, water that is consistently too hot can be a cause for concern. This is often the result of thermostat settings that are too high. Checking and adjusting these settings can often resolve the issue.

Water Leaks

Leaks from your water heater can cause considerable damage to your home. Causes can range from loose heating elements to corrosion of the tank itself. It’s crucial to identify and address leaks as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

Rust-Colored Water or Bad Odor

If your water has a brown, yellow, or red tint, or if it smells like rotten eggs, you might be dealing with corrosion inside your water heater tank or bacteria growth. This issue usually requires professional attention, such as replacing the anode rod.

Tank Making Noises

If your water heater sounds like it’s boiling or whining, it might be due to sediment build-up at the bottom of the tank. This build-up can cause the water to overheat and boil, causing the noises you’re hearing. Draining the tank to remove the sediment can often resolve this issue.

Facing any of these common water heater problems? The good news is that many of them can be fixed with a little bit of know-how. However, if you’re unsure or if the problem persists, it’s always best to call in a professional.

Solutions to Common Water Heater Problems

When your water heater starts acting up, it’s easy to feel out of your depth. But don’t despair! We’ve got a toolbox full of solutions to the most common water heater problems. Keep in mind that while some of these issues can be tackled with a DIY approach, others may require professional assistance.

How to Fix No Hot Water

When you’re dealing with a water heater that’s not producing any hot water, the first step is checking the circuit breaker. If it’s tripped, simply switch it off and back on again. If the breaker is fine, you may need to reset the high-temperature limit on your heater. If all else fails, it might be time to replace the heating elements.

How to Fix Inadequate Hot Water

If your water heater is producing hot water, but not enough of it, you might be overtaxing its capacity. Try limiting the length of showers or spreading out your hot water usage throughout the day. If the problem persists, it could be a case of a failed heating element.

How to Fix Water Temperature Is Too Hot

Excessively hot water is as much a problem as no hot water. If your water is scalding, it’s likely that your thermostat settings are too high. You can easily adjust them to your preferred temperature, which is typically around 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to Fix Water Leaks

Leaks from your water heater can be due to loose heating elements or corrosion in the tank. To fix this, inspect the elements for looseness and tighten them if necessary. If the tank itself is corroded, it’s time for a replacement.

How to Fix Rust-Colored Water or Bad Odor

If your water is discolored or has an unpleasant odor, there might be corrosion in your tank or bacteria growth. You may need to replace the anode rod, which is best done by a professional plumber.

How to Fix Tank Making Noises

Hearing strange noises from your water heater? This could be due to sediment buildup in the tank. The first solution to try is draining the tank to get rid of the sediment. If that doesn’t help, you may need to replace the tank.

Remember, while some of these fixes can be done on your own, others require the expertise of a professional. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to call in the pros. After all, your water heater is a crucial component of your home, and keeping it in good working order is essential for your comfort and convenience.

When to Call a Professional: Go Pro Plumbing Services

Water heaters are complex units, and while some issues can be resolved through DIY methods, others need the professional touch. The importance of professional water heater repair cannot be overstated. Why? Because skilled technicians have the knowledge and tools needed to diagnose and fix the problem efficiently and safely. They can also advise you whether your unit needs repair or if it’s time for a replacement, saving you from unnecessary costs in the long run.

Importance of Professional Water Heater Repair

Professional water heater repair provides several benefits. First, it ensures the job is done correctly, preventing further damage to your unit. Second, it saves you time and effort. And third, it offers peace of mind, knowing that your water heater is in safe hands. But remember, not all repair services are created equal.

Go Pro Plumbing’s Water Heater Repair Services

When it comes to water heater repair, the services offered by Go Pro Plumbing stand out. Their team is not only committed to outstanding work but also offers same-day services. Whether you’re dealing with a minor issue or a major breakdown, they are ready to help.

Go Pro Plumbing’s Unique Selling Proposition

What sets Go Pro Plumbing apart is their unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction. They offer professional, courteous service, up-front and fair prices, and quality work backed by warranties. Their fast response time is a testament to their understanding of how crucial a well-functioning water heater is to your daily routine. As one satisfied customer, Mike Accer, stated, “Go Pro Plumbing helped me and my family in an emergency situation and got the job done quickly. I will use them again for future plumbing issues.”

Remember, when your water heater starts showing signs of trouble, don’t wait for the problem to escalate. Call in the experts and ensure your unit is back in top shape in no time.

Preventive Measures and Maintenance Tips for Water Heaters

A well-maintained water heater is less likely to develop major problems, and can save you from unexpected expenses and hassles. Here are some preventive measures and maintenance tips to keep your water heater in optimal condition.

Regular Inspection and Maintenance

Conducting regular inspections is key to maintaining the longevity of your water heater. Look out for signs of corrosion, leaks, or abnormal noises. Regular maintenance, such as replacing worn-out parts, can prevent future problems and extend the life of the unit.

Draining and Flushing the Tank

Over time, sediment can build up in the tank, reducing your water heater’s efficiency and leading to issues such as rumbling noises or rust-colored water. Draining and flushing the tank at least once a year helps remove this sediment and keeps your water heater functioning properly.

Checking the Anode Rod

The anode rod in your water heater helps prevent tank corrosion by attracting the elements that cause rust. However, the rod itself can corrode over time. Checking the anode rod annually and replacing it when necessary can prevent rust-colored water and bad odors from bacteria buildup.

Insulating the Water Heater

Insulating your water heater can significantly improve its efficiency, especially in colder climates. An insulated water heater will lose less heat, which can save you money on your energy bills. Use an insulating blanket designed for water heaters, and make sure not to cover the thermostat.

Setting the Right Temperature

Setting your water heater to the right temperature is not only a safety measure, but it can also save energy and reduce your utility bills. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends a temperature setting of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if your water heater’s thermostat is set too high, it can lead to excessively hot water and potential scalding.

Remember, while DIY maintenance can go a long way in extending the life of your water heater, some tasks are better left to professionals. If you’re unsure or uncomfortable performing any of these tasks, consider scheduling a professional water heater maintenance service to ensure your unit is in top shape.


As we wrap up our comprehensive guide on water heater problems and solutions, let’s quickly revisit the main points we’ve covered. We discussed common issues you might encounter with your water heater, such as a lack of hot water, insufficient hot water, overheating, leaks, and even unpleasant odors or discolored water. For each of these problems, we provided some DIY fixes you can try, like resetting the high-temperature limit, adjusting your water usage, replacing faulty heating elements, and proper maintenance of the tank.

However, as we have emphasized throughout, while some troubleshooting and minor repairs can be done by confident DIYers, several situations require the expertise of a professional plumber. From complex repairs to regular maintenance, a professional can ensure your water heater operates optimally and extends its lifespan, saving you from costly replacements.

Furthermore, professionals are equipped with the right tools and knowledge to handle tasks efficiently and safely, especially considering the high-voltage nature of electric water heaters. They can also offer valuable advice and suggestions tailored to your specific unit and water heating needs.

At the end of the day, ensuring your home has a reliable supply of hot water is not just about convenience—it’s about comfort and safety. So, don’t hesitate to call on the experts when you need them.

Remember, if you’re based in Northern California and you’re experiencing water heater troubles or just need some expert advice, you can reach out to a reliable plumbing service. You’ll get professional assistance, fair prices, and a commitment to timeliness and quality. Homeowners and business owners alike can benefit from their expertise.

Armed with this guide, you’re now better equipped to handle common water heater problems and know when it’s time to call in a professional. Stay warm and keep those showers comfortable!

Category: Uncategorized