Water Heater Troubleshooting 101

First introduced in 1868, water heaters are indispensable appliances that provide trouble-free service when they receive the proper care and maintenance. Various issues can impair the performance of your equipment. These water heater troubleshooting steps will help you diagnose the problem.

No Hot Water

If your unit fails to make hot water, verify that it is receiving power. Check the circuit breaker or fuse to ensure that they have not tripped. Modern gas appliances have electronic ignition and exhaust systems that require electricity for the unit to operate correctly. Reset the breaker or replace the fuse as required. Open the front access panel and ensure that the thermostat is set to a temperature between 110° F and 120° F to prevent scalding injuries. If your electric unit still does not operate, an experienced technician can replace your thermostat or the heating elements.

For gas units, ensure that the valve for gas supply line is open. For units with electronic ignitions, determine whether the exhaust blower motor starts. If the exhaust unit fails to operate, a safety switch may be preventing the unit from operating. Homeowners with older models can attempt to re-ignite the pilot light by following the instructions in the owner’s manual. Two signs that the control valve should be replaced include a flickering pilot light or one that fails to remain lit. If you detect the telltale sign of gas, you may have a leak. Leave your house right away and contact us.

Hot Water Runs Out

This problem can occur when the thermostat is faulty or it is set too low. Verify that the thermostat is on and set to the correct temperature. Make sure that your heater is large enough to meet the requirements of the household. Another possible issue is that your cold-water dip tube is defective, which lowers the capacity of the equipment because it prevents the unit from heating the water in the lower portion of the tank. An electric unit may have a defective heating element. These issues may require that a service technician replace your unit or perform repairs or services, such as replacing the thermostat or dip tube.

Water Quality Problems

Electric water heaters are equipped with a rod called an anode. Although this metal rod is designed to prevent tank erosion, it can deteriorate and release chemicals that affect the smell or taste of the water. Minerals in the water may also accumulate inside the tank of a gas or electric appliance. Refer to your owner’s manual to determine the proper steps to flush sediment from your unit. If the problem persists, you may need to replace your anode rod.


If these steps do not correct the problem or you need the assistance of an experienced professional, contact us at Custom Air, Inc. One of our veteran Sarasota, FL service technicians will schedule a convenient time to come to your house. We will diagnose the problem quickly and in many cases resolve the issue that same day.

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