We rely on hot water nearly every day. We use it for showers, laundry, dishwashing, and more. If your water heater breaks down, it can be a real inconvenience.  However, the professionals at Meade in Chester Springs, PA are always here to help you get it back up and running so you can get back to your daily life.

Troubleshooting and Repairing Common Issues

When it comes to repairing your water heater, it is usually better to call in the professionals. Doing so helps ensure the job is done properly so that you don’t run into worse problems. That being said, it is always good to have a general understanding of what is wrong with your system and how to fix it. With this in mind, below you will find a brief guide to common water heater problems and how to fix them. 

No Hot Water

One common issue is not having hot water at all. The water pressure could be low or the water may just be too cold. 

The Problem

Lack of hot water can be caused by a variety of issues. This includes: 

  • Demand for hot water too high
  • Incoming water being too cold
  • Low water pressure
  • Wrong thermostat settings
  • Faulty parts
  • Sediment buildup
  • Old age

Every issue requires a different solution. Therefore, the first step is to determine the specific cause of the problem. 

The Solution

Hot Water Demand – If you recently installed a new shower or bathtub, added a household member, or installed a new hot water appliance, it may be demanding extra water that your water heater can’t keep up with. In this case, the solution is to either create a schedule for hot water usage or install a new water heater. 

Installing a New Heater – When it comes to installing a new water heater, you have two main options. You can install a water heater with a higher capacity tank so that you have more hot water on hand. Meade can help you determine what size is right for your household. The other option is a tankless water heater. Tankless water heaters heat water as needed, so you virtually never run out. However, you may experience issues if you are running too many appliances at once. 

Rusty or Smelly Water

If you notice strange colors or smells coming from your water, it is time to check it. Discoloration and smells can be caused by a variety of factors. 

The Problem

Rusty water generally looks brown, yellow, or red. This typically occurs when either the pipes leading into your house or your water heater are beginning to rust. Your water may taste metallic or stain your clothing. However, it is worth noting that drinking rusty water does not pose a health hazard. 

If you have not run your water heater in a while, kept your water turned off for a while, or have your temperature set too low, you can end up with smelly water. It will likely smell like sewage or sulfur. Smelly water is commonly caused by bacteria growing in the water heater. However, the bacteria are not harmful. 

The Solution

Discolored or smelly water can be very off-putting. Fortunately, there are some fairly simple solutions to get your water back to normal. 

Rust – If your water is rusty, one of the most common solutions is to add a water softener or a filtration system to your home. It is a good idea to call on the professionals at Meade to help you determine how much water softener you need or to help you find and install a filtration system. 

Smelly Water – The best way to solve the issue of smelly water is to call in a professional plumber. The issue could be caused by a corroding anode rod. This problem can be solved by installing a new anode rod. 

Strange Noises

Like most appliances, if there is something wrong with your water heater, you may begin to hear strange noises. There are a variety of types of noises you may hear. 

The Problem

Some common noises you may hear include humming, popping, whistling, rumbling, banging, sizzling, and more. Like many of the other problems on this list, strange noises can be caused by a variety of underlying issues. These include the buildup of sediment, residue or mineral buildup, closed pressure-relief valve, water pressure fluctuations, loose pipe straps, and water leaking onto the hot burner. 

The Solution

With so many different problems that can create strange noises, one of the best ways to ensure you find the correct source and get it fixed properly is to call the professionals at Meade in Chester Springs. With decades of experience in the HVAC industry and thorough training of our technicians, we can more easily locate and repair the problem. 

Sediment Buildup – One of the most common issues that cause noise is sediment buildup within the water take. This will usually create a popping sound. It is a good idea to take precautions to try and prevent sediment buildup in the first place. You can do so by flushing your water heater out periodically or using a water softener. If sediment is left long enough, it can lead to bigger issues such as rust and leaks. If your tank rusts until it leaks, replacing it will likely be your only option left. 

Residue and Mineral Buildup – Over time, the residue can build up within your tank and can eventually cause a popping sound. If the residue is minerals, it can also form limescale on the interior of your water tank.  The solution for this is to clean out your tank as often as possible. 

Closed Relief Valve – If you hear hissing, the pressure within the hot water tank may be high and your pressure relief valve may be closed. If this is the case, the valve may just need to be opened momentarily to let some of the pressure out. 

Water Pressure Fluctuations – If you hear a ticking noise, frequent water pressure fluctuations can be the cause. This happens frequently with water heaters that use water inlet and outlet nipples with heat traps. The typical fix for this issue is to install non-heat trap nipples. 

Loose Pipe Straps – Loose pipe straps on the hot water lines can cause a ticking noise. Installing plastic spacers between the pipes and straps can help stop the noise. 

Water Leaks onto Hot Burner – Sizzling sounds usually occur when water from the tank leaks onto the burner assembly. If this is the case, you need to have the leak repaired. 

Stopped Water Flow – If the water flow stops, you may hear a knocking or hammering sound. This can cause damage to your water heater. One solution to this problem is to drain your home’s plumbing system. This involves turning off the water to your home and turning on the faucets to allow the air cushions to fill up again. Once you let the water flow out, you can turn the water back on and turn off the faucets. 

Water Leak Around the Base of the Heater

Water leaks are fairly easy to notice. If you notice water in a place where it isn’t supposed to be, you likely have a leak. 

The Problem

Your water heater may also leak for a variety of reasons, including poor maintenance, bad plumbing, too much tank pressure, loose parts, or even old age. This is why it is so important to keep up with maintenance and have your system installed by a professional HVAC contractor like Meade. 

The Solution

Each leak source requires a different fix. Some are fairly cheap and affordable. Others might be a bit more costly. 

Poor Maintenance – No matter what repair you need, future maintenance frequency can be the difference between having a healthy and efficient water heater and running into more issues. Be sure to flush your water heater at least two times per year or more if your water is hard. 

Bad Plumbing – If your plumbing wasn’t installed properly or if the pipes are old, you will likely need to call in a professional plumber to fix the pipes or install new ones. 

Too Much Tank Pressure – Of all the issues on this list, water pressure can do some of the most damage to your water heater. If water is leaking out of the pressure relief valve, you may need to simply let some pressure out by opening the valve. Once you let the pressure out, close the valve again. 

Loose Drain Valve – If the valve drain is loose, it can also cause a leak. If this is the case, the valve likely needs to be replaced. Turn off the water heater as well as the water supply. Start by draining some of the water, then lift the lever on the valve to relieve the rest of the pressure. Unscrew the valve from the tank with a wrench. Then replace it with the new valve. Use Teflon tape on the threads before screwing the valve onto the tank. Finally, refill the tank and turn on the water and water heater again. 

Old Age – If your water heater is old and leaking, it will likely need to be replaced. Be sure to call the professionals at Meade to help you find and install a new tank that is appropriate for your home. 

Water Too Hot

Hot water may feel good and help get stains out, but sometimes the water can get too hot.

The Problem

Water that is too hot usually indicates an issue with the thermostat. It could simply be set too high or the thermostat may be malfunctioning. 

The Solution

To check your thermostat, first, go to the service panel and turn off the power to your water heater. While being careful not to touch any wires, remove the access panel, insulation, and plastic safety guards from each element on your water heater. Next, use a no-contact voltage tester to make sure your system is turned off. 

Then check the temperature on the thermostats. They should be somewhere between 115-125°F and both be set to the same temperature. Use a flathead screwdriver if you need to adjust the settings. Finally, replace the service panel, insulation, and plastic safety guards. Then you can turn the power to the heater again at the circuit breaker as well as turn your water heater back on. 

Call the Professionals at Meade if You Need Help

If you need any help getting your water heater back up and running efficiently, Meade HVAC is happy to help. We will help you ensure that everything is installed properly and that your system is running at its full potential. This way, you and your family can return to your daily lives and focus on what is important to you.