Can a water heater be repaired?

hand turning up heat on water heater

Quality water heater repair

When do you know if you need a water heater repair service? Probably on one of those dreaded mornings you jump into the shower and have nothing but ice-cold water coming out. Or you go out to the garage and step in water about 2 inches deep and realize there is water gushing out of the water heater. 

Those would be when you’d put water heater repair on your “things to do today” list. If you find yourself in either of those situations and you don’t have a plumber you’ve used with success, then you would likely start searching Google for “water heater repair in my area”.

Once the plumber arrives, they will assess the situation and advise you if water heater repair or replace the unit is the best scenario, and provide you a water heater repair estimate or give you a quote on a new water heater unit. Before you make that phone call for water heater repair, try to restart the water heater yourself.

How do you restart a water heater?

Sometimes, when the water won’t get hot, the water heater needs to be restarted, almost like rebooting your computer. If the water is getting too hot, the reset switch will trip and resetting that switch may fix the problem and you can avoid an expensive water heater repair service call:

If you have an electric water heater, check the reset switch. This is a red button found on the upper end of the thermostat once you remove the access panel, push it.  If there is a reset button on the lower thermostat, push it. If this doesn’t get the water heating, then there may be another problem with the unit. Other issues that could cause the water heater not to work are:  

  • The high-limit switch is malfunctioning, causing the water to overheat and trip the switch.
  • Loose wiring in the heating element can cause the switch to trip.
  • The heating element has gone out or is going out can cause the switch to trip.
  • It could be a problem with the circuit breaker that powers the water heater.

Water heater repair by a professional plumber can fix the high-limit switch, loose wiring to the element, or replace the element. If it is the circuit breaker, however, you must call a professional electrician in which the plumber will determine that is necessary.  

How long do hot water heaters usually last?

The average lifespan of a water heater is eight to twelve years. If you follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance steps, you may extend that lifespan to 20 years. It is the recommendation of most plumbers that by your water heater’s 10th birthday, it would be a good idea to consider your next water heater, like going with a tankless style. By planning, you could replace your existing water heater before needing to make an emergency water heater repair service call at the most inconvenient time.

What are the signs your hot water heater is going out? 

If your water heater hasn’t hit that 10th birthday yet, other indicators that the unit may go out are:  

  1. Rust coming from the faucets or you notice rust around the connections and valves of the water usually indicates the tank has rusted inside. If there isn’t any water leaking from the tank or the connections now, there will be soon.  
  2. Regardless of your water heater is electric or gas, they all get a build-up of sediment in the tank’s bottom. As that sediment accumulates, the drain valve becomes clogged. If your water heater is a gas-powered model, you’ll begin hearing popping noises each time the burner ignites.  
  3. Water leaking from the tank, connections, lines, or valves.  Sometimes, a water heater repair service calls, the plumber can repair, tighten or replace connections, water lines, or valves to stop the leaking. If the tank is leaking, it is time to buy a new water heater. 
  4. With an electric water heater, the heating element can go out, which you can replace yourself or call for a professional water heater repair service by a plumber.
Water heater in a basement

What would cause a hot water heater to stop working?

If your water heater seems to have stopped heating water, some possible problems are:

  • The pilot light – a gas water heater has a pilot light, and these can go out from time to time, fortunately, this is a simple fix that doesn’t require a professional water heater repair service call. Following the instructions in the owner’s manual or on the unit itself and relight it.
  • Leaking gas line – another possible problem with gas water heaters could be a leak in the gas line. This is usually noticed before not getting hot water by the smell of gas in the area of the water heater.  This requires calling a plumber for water heater repair, possibly even calling the gas company if the odor is strong.  
  • The heating element – this is an electric water heater problem and can be replaced by the homeowner if you’re trying to avoid the expenses of a water heater repair service call. Replacing the heating element is much less expensive either way than replacing the entire water heater.
  • Tank sediment buildup – no matter where you live, the water has contaminants and they will build up in the water heater tank, become harden and reduce the water heater’s ability to heat enough water. If the sediment hasn’t built up too long or became too hard, flushing the tank will often fix this, which you can do yourself following the manufacturer’s instructions or you can have a water heater repair service do it. However, if it has been happening for a long period, a new water heater is the only solution.

What is the most common problem with water heaters?

A hot water heater that is leaking is the most common problem among water heaters. The problem can be from a broken drain valve, which a water heater repair service call can get that fixed. Sometimes, the tank has had too much pressure building up will cause the tank to leak, or if the tank has rusted inside. In that case, you need to replace your water heater.  

Your water heater is something your household depends on, more than you may realize until it isn’t working.  Taking the maintenance steps can help keep it going for many years, and if you aren’t comfortable performing those steps, it is worth the expense of a water heater repair service call. For all of your water heater needs in Santa Clarita and Granada Hills, CA, dial (661) 347-4478 today!