What Might Be Wrong With Your Home's Hot Water Heater

A home's hot water heater, as with all other appliances, will eventually break down over time. In some cases, you need a new heater altogether; however, in many cases, the heater could need just a simple fix or replacement part. Note a few things that might be wrong with your home's hot water heater so you know where to start looking when it begins to fail, and what you might be facing by way of needed repairs.

Lukewarm water

If the water heater doesn't supply enough hot water, it could simply be undersized for your needs. This is especially true if you just recently installed an oversized tub or second shower but didn't upgrade to a larger hot water heater.

However, if the water often feels lukewarm rather than getting hot at all, this may be a problem with the dip tube. When fresh water is supplied to the tank, this dip tube directs that water to the bottom, as water is heated in the tank from the top down. If the dip tube is cracked, this fresh, cooler water may be mixing with the hot water at the top of the tank. In turn, the water coming out of the taps and showerheads is lukewarm and not actually hot. This dip tube can usually be replaced very easily.

Another possible cause of lukewarm water is a build-up of minerals in the tank. If your home has hard water, those minerals tend to separate from the water when it's heated, and then cling to the tank. This makes the water cooler and more difficult to heat. Flushing the water heater tank can get rid of this mineral build-up so that the heating element works efficiently again.

Steam coming from the taps

A hot water heater will have thermostat with a temperature setting that controls the amount of heat produced by the heating element; if the water is too hot, that thermostat could be broken and needs replacing. However, if you see steam coming from the taps or showerheads, this often means that steam is actually trapped in the hot water heater itself. A water heater typically has a valve that releases the steam produced when water is heated; if that valve is broken, the steam gets trapped in the heater's tank and travels with the water when you turn on a tap. This trapped steam can actually cause the water heater to burst, so it's good to have that valve checked and replaced as soon as possible.

For more information, contact companies like Peninsula Plumbing S.A.