Hot Water Heater Problems Gas & Electric

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Hot Water Heater Problem Advice Since 1885

If you’re like most people, as long as the heater is delivering hot water on demand, you don’t check on it. Water heaters need regular maintenance in order to function properly and extend its life. If your water heater is malfunctioning PDM has 135 years of water heater service. PDM has answers to your water heater questions.

Electric water heater problem, not working.

  1. Check the main electrical water heater breaker, reset or replace breaker if necessary.
  2. Your water heater may have a defective thermostat or element.

Gas water heater not working.

  1. Make sure gas supply line is turned on.
  2. Remove the inner and outer burner access covers and check to see if the pilot light is lit.

Not enough hot water.

  1. Check the thermostat setting, it may be set too low. But be careful, a hotter setting can lead to scalding within seconds.
  2. Check the dip tube, if the dip tube has broken or fallen off, incoming cold water will be drawn out through the hot water outlet without being heated.
  3. Other possible causes are clogged burners and low gas pressure. Or electric elements are faulty.
  4. If an older water heater, scale build-up can be a problem. You can try flushing the water heater.
  5. Hard water scale build-up (concrete-like) shortens heater life and gives you less hot water.

Slow hot water recovery.

  1. Sediment buildup in bottom of heater, flushing the water heater may help.
  2. Other possible causes may be insufficient combustion air caused by insufficient ventilation, a clogged flue (could be dangerous and allow carbon monoxide poisoning), or improper burner operation.

Water heater pilot light is lit.

  1. Turn on a hot water faucet and let the water run. Check to see if burner comes on. If not run the hot water several more minutes.
  2. If the burner still does not come on the problem could be a defective safety system.
  3. Check to see if the gas control valve knob is in the “on” setting and not set to the “pilot” position.

Water heater pilot light won’t stay lit.

  1. Sometimes a draft will blow the pilot light out. Make sure the burner access covers are in place.
  2. Other possible causes are dirt in the gas line, or a gas safety device problem.

Water heater pilot light is not lit.

  1. Follow the instructions posted on your water heater and attempt to re-light pilot with care.
  2. Make sure gas valve is open.
  3. If the pilot light will not re-light, the problem could be that gas is not reaching the water heater or a clogged pilot line.
  4. Call a licensed plumber for help.
  5. If the pilot light will light but does not stay lit when the gas valve control is released the problem could be a defective pilot safety switch or perhaps a loose pilot safety switch connection to the gas control valve.
  6. Make sure the pilot safety switch connection to the control valve is tight.

Burner flame noisy (whistling).

  1. Problem may be improper gas pressure or dirty burner orifice.

Yellow burner flame.

  1. Problem could be scale on top of burner, dirty burner orifice, flue-way clogged or improper gas pressure.

Burner flame floats.

  1. Problem may be improper gas pressure, wrong orifice or clogged flue.

Discharge from temperature and pressure relief valve. T&P valve leaking.

  1. The T&P relief valve will open when the water temperature is too high or if the pressure gets too high.
  2. If the inlet to the water heater is fed directly from the water main with no pressure relief valves or check valves between them then when the water heater heats the water and it expands, the extra volume of water simply flows back toward the water main.
  3. If however there is a blockage such as a backflow valve, check valve or pressure reducing valve with a defective bypass than the increase in water volume has no where to go and the pressure within increases dramatically.
  4. Placing an expansion tank in the line at the inlet will give the increased volume of water someplace to go and prevent operation of the relief valve.

Water heater popping or banging noise.

  1. Scale can build up in the bottom of the tank causing all sorts of noises to occur while the water heater is heating water.
  2. Try flushing the tank. Make sure you turn off gas or electric before flushing.

Water heater sooting.

  1. Combustion air inlets or flue-way is restricted or not enough ventilation air supplied to room.
  2. Also, may be improper gas pressure or dirty burner orifice.
  3. Remove obstruction or debris from heater or flue way and improve ventilation.
  4. An obstruction could create carbon monoxide poisoning.

Hot water smells like rotten eggs.

  1. Certain types of bacteria can react with the magnesium anode rod resulting in a rotten egg odor.
  2. Clean the tank using chlorine bleach or by changing the anode rod to aluminum usually will solve the problem.
  3. If older heater, you’re better off replacing with new efficient unit.

Rusty or black water.

  1. Anode rod may have dissolved or there is excessive sediment build-up. Check anode rod.
  2. You may be better off replacing tank with an energy efficient model.

Milky water.

  1. May be as simple as aerated water.
  2. Allow a glass of hot water to set for a few minutes.
  3. If the water turns clear, the condition is a natural occurrence. If not, call PDM for help.

Leaking water heater tank.

  1. Replace the water heater with energy efficient model.
  2. The savings in energy can help pay for the heater. PDM Since 1885 offers same day replacement and a variety or warranties are available.

What is an anode rod?

An anode rod protects your water heater tank. The anode rods  made of zinc, magnesium, or aluminum surrounding a steel core wire and is screwed into the top of the tank. An anode rod is the most important factor in determining the life of your water heater. The anode rod sacrifices itself to protect the exposed steel of the water heater through a process of Electrolysis.

Electrolysis makes the anode rode corrode instead of the exposed steel within your water heater. The metal in anode rods—magnesium, zinc, or aluminum—is much less noble than steel, meaning it will corrode before the steel does, protecting your water heater tank.

Call the PDM Water Heater King for water heater FAQ. 815-726-6264.

Water heater repair or replace in the greater Bolingbrook, Homer Glen, Joliet, New Lenox, Plainfield, IL area. PDM Plumbing, Heating, Cooling has been serving the Joliet-SW Chicago Suburbs since 1885.

Why Work With PDM Plumbing, Heating, Cooling?

Our skilled team of plumbing, piping, HVAC experts promises the following with each and every call:

  1. Guaranteed Pricing: You will never be surprised by an unpleasant bill.
  2. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee: Going beyond to make you happy.
  3. Environmentally Friendly: We recycle and use sustainable materials.
  4. Respect: We’re homeowners too, so we will always clean our messes and treat your property with respect.

Call a trusted PDM plumber at 815-726-6264.


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