Why Is My Water Heater Not Working?

Why Is My Water Heater Not Working?

A warm shower on a chilly morning or a hot bath after a long day at work is undoubtedly one of life’s little luxuries. But what happens when you turn on the tap and find that your water heater is not working?

Your water heater, an often-overlooked appliance, plays a pivotal role in your daily routine. It provides hot water for cooking, cleaning, and bathing. So, when your water heater is not functioning properly, it can disrupt your entire schedule and cause a lot of inconvenience.

In this article, we will explore the common reasons why your water heater may not be working and what can be done to fix it.

Common Reasons Your Water Heater May Not Be Working

8 reasons why water heater is not working

There could be various reasons why your water heater is not functioning as it should. Some of the most common ones include:

1. Malfunctioning Thermostat

The thermostat in your water heater controls the temperature of the water. If the thermostat is malfunctioning, it can lead to water that is either too hot or too cold. This can be a frustrating issue to deal with, as you may not be able to enjoy a comfortable shower or have the right water temperature for various tasks.

To determine if the thermostat is the culprit, you can start by checking its settings. Make sure it’s set to your desired temperature. If the setting seems correct, but the water is still not at the right temperature, you may need to reset the thermostat or replace it altogether.

malfunctioning thermostat

2. Broken Pilot Light

A broken pilot light is a frequent issue with water heaters. The pilot light is a small flame that ignites the gas burner in gas-powered water heaters. When it’s working correctly, it ensures a continuous supply of hot water. However, if the pilot light goes out or remains extinguished, you’ll be left with cold water.

This can happen due to various reasons, such as a faulty thermocouple, a corroded gas valve, or gas supply issues. In some cases, simply relighting the pilot light may fix the problem. However, if it continues to go out repeatedly, it’s best to call a professional plumber to diagnose and fix the underlying issue. They may need to replace the faulty parts to get your water heater up and running again.

3. Gas Leaks or Faulty Valves

While gas-powered water heaters are generally safe to use, they can pose a potential risk if there is a gas leak or faulty valve. A gas leak can be caused by a damaged gas line or loose connections, while a faulty valve may prevent the proper flow of gas. Both of these issues require immediate attention from a trained professional.

If you suspect a gas leak, turn off the gas supply to your water heater immediately and open all doors and windows to ventilate the area. Do not use any electrical appliances or light a flame until the issue has been resolved. A professional will be able to safely locate and repair any gas leaks or faulty valves, ensuring the safety of your home.

4. Water Leaks

One of the most common issues with water heaters is leaks and drips. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as loose connections, a damaged tank, or faulty valves. No matter the cause, it’s important to address any leaks or drips right away to prevent further damage.

Start by checking all connections for any signs of water leakage. If you find any, try tightening the connections or replacing them if necessary. If there are no visible signs of leaks, but you notice water pooling around the base of your water heater, it could be a sign of a larger issue, such as a cracked tank. In this case, it’s best to call a professional plumber for repairs.

water heater leaks

5. Rust and Corrosion

Water heaters are susceptible to rust and corrosion, especially in areas with hard water. The minerals in hard water can build up inside the tank over time, leading to rust and corrosion. This can not only affect the efficiency of your water heater but also cause it to leak or burst.

To prevent this issue, it’s important to regularly flush and drain your water heater to remove any sediment buildup. You may also consider installing a water softener to reduce the mineral content in your water. If you notice rust or corrosion on your water heater, it’s best to call a professional plumber to inspect and repair the issue before it becomes more serious.

6. An Improperly Sized Water Heater

One possible reason your water heater may not be working well is that it’s not the right size for your household’s needs. If you have a larger family and a small water heater, you may quickly run out of hot water, causing frustration and inconvenience.

On the other hand, if you have a smaller household and a large water heater, you may be using more energy than necessary to heat a larger tank of water. This can result in higher utility bills.

It’s essential to consult with a professional plumber to determine the appropriate size and type of water heater for your household’s specific needs. They can also help you choose between tank or tankless options, which can impact energy efficiency and overall performance.

7. Failing Anode Rod

failing anode rod

An anode rod is a crucial component in maintaining the longevity of your water heater. It’s a sacrificial metal rod that attracts corrosive elements, protecting the tank from rust and corrosion. However, over time, the anode rod can deteriorate and fail.

If your water heater is not functioning properly, the anode rod might be the culprit. If it’s completely worn out, there’s nothing left to protect the tank from corrosion, leading to leaks and other issues. Regularly checking and replacing the anode rod can help extend the lifespan of your water heater.

If you’re not sure how to check or replace the anode rod, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. Letting the issue go unresolved can lead to costly repairs or even the need for a new water heater.

8. Age

As with any appliance, water heaters have a limited lifespan. On average, a conventional tank-style water heater can last between 6 to 12 years, while tankless water heaters can last up to 20 years. However, these estimates depend on proper maintenance and usage.

As such, age might be the reason your water heater is not working properly. Over time, the components inside the water heater can wear out, leading to reduced efficiency and potentially causing breakdowns.

If you suspect age is the issue, you might want to consider replacing your water heater with a new one. Consult a professional plumber to determine the best type and size of water heater for your household’s needs. Regular maintenance and proper usage can also help prolong the lifespan of your new water heater.

The Wrap Up

There are several reasons why your water heater might not be working properly, ranging from simple fixes to more complex issues. By understanding these potential problems and taking proper care of your water heater, you can ensure it operates efficiently and effectively for years to come.

Remember to regularly check for leaks, sediment buildup, and replace the anode rod when necessary. And if your water heater is reaching its lifespan, consider replacing it with a newer model to avoid costly repairs in the future.

In need of professional help? The team at Viper Services is here to assist with all your water heater needs. We offer maintenance, repair, and installation services to keep your water heater running smoothly.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment and keep your household’s hot water supply consistent and reliable!

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Brian Childers