Hot Water Heater Troubleshooting

Never ignore any problem with your home's hot water heater, as even minor problems may get much worse over time, so that you soon find yourself with no hot water in the home. Ignoring problems may also mean larger repair bills when you do fix an issue with the heater or the need to outright replace this piece altogether. To ensure you keep your home's hot water service functioning as it should, note a few troubleshooting tips, along with recommendations for when you might need to call a plumber to address these needed repairs.

Foul odour

If the home's water has foul odour no matter its temperature, this might be the fault of the water itself, and you would do well to have it tested for contaminants. However, if the odour is just noticeable when you turn on the hot water taps, then the heater may have bacteria and other contaminants inside. You can flush the hot water heater, meaning empty it of hot water and rinse it with cold water again and again, to remove those contaminants. If you're not sure how to do this with your heater, have a plumber handle this job for you.

Black water

As with a bad odour, black or rusty water may be a problem with the water itself, but if this rust or discoloration only shows up in hot water, the problem is probably with the hot water heater. Inside the heater there is what is called an anode rod, which is meant to keep the heater from rusting. If this rod should dissolve, it will create black or discoloured water. The inside of the tank might also then start to rust, and this rust will show up in the hot water. A plumber can check this anode rod for needed replacement and can note if the water heater tank is then rusted and needs repair or replacement.

Water is too hot

If the water coming from the taps or showerheads is too hot, you need to check the thermostat of the hot water heater. If the thermostat is set too high, you can adjust it, and this will keep the heater from getting the water overly warm. However, if the settings of the thermostat are fine, the thermostat itself may be broken, and the hot water heater doesn't know when to stop heating water. In this case, you can usually just replace the thermostat without having to replace the entire hot water heater, or have a plumber replace this part for you.