Common Portsmouth Water Heater Problems: Troubleshooting Tips

Water heater replacement is an essential part of maintaining a smoothly running household. When your water heater breaks down, it can be a cold and inconvenient shock. To avoid any disruptions to your daily routine, it's important to address common water heater issues promptly. This troubleshooting guide aims to provide you with valuable tips to tackle these issues and ensure that your water heater continues to function reliably.

Common issues with a water heater

If you're dealing with a malfunctioning water heater, you know how frustrating it can be. A faulty water heater can put a wrench in your daily routine and cause all sorts of inconveniences. Here are a few common issues you might come across:

Water is cold

If you find yourself dealing with chilly water from your water heater, there are a few potential causes that may be to blame. From a faulty thermostat to a malfunctioning heating element, these issues can put a damper on your hot water supply. Luckily, there are steps you can take to tackle this problem head-on:

  • Checking the thermostat settings and ensuring they are properly adjusted. The thermostat in your water heater allows you to control the temperature of the water it produces. However, over time, the settings may become inaccurate or misaligned, causing issues with the water temperature.

  • Replacing a faulty thermostat with a new one can help restore your water heater's functionality and ensure that you have a consistent supply of hot water.

  • One key component to inspect is the heating element. It's important to regularly check for any signs of damage or deterioration. If you notice any issues, it's essential to replace the heating element as necessary.

  • When it comes to gas water heaters, it's important to regularly check the pilot light to ensure it is ignited and working properly. The pilot light is responsible for igniting the gas burner, which then heats the water in the tank. If the pilot light is not lit or is not functioning correctly, it can lead to issues with your water heater and may result in the need for a replacement.

  • When it comes to your electric water heater, one important aspect to check is the circuit breaker. It's essential to assess whether it has tripped or needs resetting. This simple step can save you time and money when it comes to troubleshooting your water heater.

The tank is leaking

When you spot a leak in your water heater, it is often a sign of a defective pressure relief valve or a corroded tank. To tackle this issue, follow these necessary steps for water heater replacement:

  • Turn off the power supply: Before attempting any work on your water heater, make sure to turn off the electricity or gas supply. This will ensure your safety during the replacement process.

  • Drain the tank: To prevent any further leakage, you must drain the water heater tank completely. Attach a hose to the drain valve and place the other end in a suitable drainage area. Open the valve and allow the water to drain out completely.

  • Disconnect the plumbing connections: Once the tank is emptied, you need to disconnect the plumbing connections. This includes disconnecting both the hot water outlet and cold water inlet pipes. Use a wrench to loosen the fittings and remove the connections carefully.

  • Remove the pressure relief valve: After disconnecting the plumbing connections, it is time to remove the faulty pressure relief valve. It is usually located on the top or side of the tank. Use an adjustable wrench or pliers to unscrew and remove the valve. Make sure to check if the valve is functional before replacing it.

  • Have a new water heater installed by a professional: Now it's time to install the new water heater. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and guidelines for installation. Make sure to align the water heater properly and secure it in place.

  • Reconnect the plumbing connections: Once the new water heater is properly installed, the pro should reconnect the plumbing connections. Attach the hot water outlet and cold water inlet pipes, and tighten the fittings securely. Ensure there are no leaks or loose connections before proceeding.

  • Refill the tank: Open the water supply valve slowly to refill the tank. Check for any leaks and make sure that all connections are secure. Let the tank fill up completely. 8. Turn on the power supply: Once the tank is filled, turn on the power supply to the water heater. If you have an electric water heater, flip the circuit breaker back on. For gas water heaters, relight the pilot light and set the desired temperature.

The water is discolored

If you've noticed that the water coming out of your water heater is discolored, it may be a sign that you need to consider flushing and descaling your system. Discolored water can occur due to mineral buildup or sediment accumulation in your water heater tank. Over time, these deposits can affect the performance and efficiency of your water heater, leading to issues like reduced water pressure and even potential damage to your system.

  • A faulty pressure relief valve can result in various problems and may require replacement by a professional. Identifying the signs of a faulty valve and taking appropriate action can help prevent potential hazards and ensure the uninterrupted functioning of your water heater.

  • By using a mixture of white vinegar and water, you can eliminate sediment and mineral buildup that may hinder your water heater's efficiency.

  • One crucial aspect to consider is the condition of the anode rod. This rod plays a vital role in preventing corrosion and deterioration inside the water heater tank. Over time, the anode rod itself can become corroded, which limits its ability to protect the tank. Therefore, it is essential to periodically examine the anode rod for any signs of deterioration or corrosion.

  • By relying on a professional for your water heater's descaling treatment, you can ensure that potential issues are addressed before they lead to more significant problems. Regular descaling helps to maintain the efficiency of the water heater, improve its performance, and prolong its lifespan. It also helps to eliminate any unpleasant odors or tastes that may be caused by mineral build-up in the tank.

The water smells bad

If you're dealing with issues like bacteria buildup in the tank of your water heater, it's important to address the problem promptly. Here are some steps you can take to tackle this issue and ensure your water heater functions optimally:

  • Turn off the power: Before you begin any maintenance or repairs on your water heater, make sure to turn off the power supply. This will help prevent any accidents or electrical hazards.

  • Drain the tank: Start by draining the water heater tank. Attach a hose to the drain valve located at the bottom of the tank and direct the other end of the hose to a suitable drainage area. Open the valve and allow the water to completely empty from the tank.

  • Clean the tank: Once the water has been drained, you can proceed to clean the tank. Mix a solution of water and hydrogen peroxide or bleach (diluted as per the manufacturer's instructions) and pour it into the tank. Let the solution sit for an hour or so to kill any bacteria and dissolve any mineral deposits.

  • Flush the tank: After the cleaning solution has had time to work, flush the tank thoroughly to remove any residue. Ensure that the drain valve is closed, and carefully refill the tank with fresh water. Turn on the cold water supply to the water heater and let it run for a few minutes. This will help flush out any remaining cleaning solution or debris.

  • Check for leaks and proper functioning: Once you've completed the cleaning and flushing process, check for any leaks or signs of damage. Inspect the fittings, connections, and valves to ensure everything is in good condition. Additionally, turn the power supply back on and monitor the water heater to ensure it's functioning properly.

  • Have a water heater professional inspect the tank to determine if it needs replacement.

Noisy water heater

If you're noticing strange sounds coming from your water heater, it could be a sign of sediment buildup or loose components. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to tackle these problems and ensure your water heater continues to function efficiently. Loose parts in your water heater can also be a source of unusual sounds. The heating element or other components may become loose due to regular use or aging.

  • Sediment buildup is a common issue in water heaters. Over time, minerals and sediment can accumulate at the bottom of the tank. This buildup can lead to popping or rumbling noises during operation. To address this, you can flush your water heater. Start by turning off the power supply to the heater and shutting off the water supply. Connect a hose to the drain valve and place the other end in a nearby drain or outside where the water can safely flow. Open the drain valve and allow the tank to drain completely. This process will help remove the sediment from the tank, improving the heater's performance and reducing the noise.

  • Loose parts in your water heater can also be a source of unusual sounds. The heating element or other components may become loose due to regular use or aging. To fix this, you'll need to turn off the power supply and drain the tank (following the steps mentioned earlier). Once the tank is drained, access the heating element or any other suspected loose parts. Inspect them and tighten anything that appears to be loose. Be cautious not to overtighten, as this could cause damage. Once you've addressed the loose parts, refill the tank, restore power, and check if the noises have subsided.

  • Contact a licensed plumber to inspect all internal components of your water heater. They will ensure that all parts are properly secured and tightened.

Tank takes a long time to reheat

Is your tank water heater taking too long to reheat? There are a few potential causes for this issue, including a faulty thermostat, an improperly sized tank, or a buildup of minerals. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to resolve the problem:

  • Check the thermostat settings. It is essential to ensure that the thermostat is adjusted to the desired temperature. This will help you maintain a comfortable and consistent supply of hot water. If the current temperature is not suitable, you can easily adjust it to meet your needs.

  • One possible cause for this problem is a faulty thermostat. A thermostat is a vital component of your water heater, responsible for regulating the water temperature. If it malfunctions, it can lead to issues with heating the water to the desired temperature.

  • Over time, minerals can accumulate and hinder the heating process, causing your water heater to work harder and less efficiently. To address this issue, it is recommended to have a professional inspect the tank for mineral buildup.

  • If you often find yourself running out of hot water, it could be a sign that your existing water heater is not adequately sized to meet the demands of your household.

Low hot water pressure

Is your hot water pressure not up to par? There are a couple of potential culprits for this issue: a small hot water tank or a leaky plumbing system. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to address this problem. Let's dive in and explore the solutions.

  • You want to make sure that your hot water tank is able to meet the demands of all the outlets in your house. If your current water heater is undersized, it may be time to consider a water heater replacement with a larger tank. By upgrading to a larger tank, you can improve not only the hot water pressure in your home but also ensure that you have enough hot water to go around.

  • If you're noticing that your hot water isn't flowing as well as it should be, the first step is to have a professional plumber inspect your plumbing system for any leaks. Leaks can be a major cause of reduced hot water pressure. When leaks are present, they can disrupt the flow of water and diminish the amount of hot water available. During a thorough inspection, a professional plumber will be able to identify any leaks and advise on the best course of action to repair them. By repairing these leaks, you can restore proper water flow and improve your hot water pressure. It's always a good idea to rely on the expertise of a qualified plumber to handle any plumbing issues, as they have the knowledge and experience to accurately assess the situation and provide effective solutions.

  • One important factor to consider is the proper functioning of the pressure relief valve. This valve has a crucial role in releasing excess pressure from the tank. As water heats up, it expands, potentially causing pressure to build up inside the tank. The pressure relief valve ensures that this excess pressure is safely released, preventing any potential damage to the water heater.

Low supply of hot water

Over time, water heaters can become less efficient and start to show signs of wear and tear. One common problem is a decrease in the amount of hot water being produced. This can be frustrating, especially if you are used to having a steady and reliable supply of hot water.

  • One possible cause of a low supply of hot water or quickly cooling water is a malfunctioning thermostat. The thermostat is responsible for regulating the temperature of the water in your water heater. If it's not working properly, it can result in inconsistent or insufficient hot water. To troubleshoot this issue, start by checking the temperature settings on your water heater and ensure they are set correctly. If the settings are correct, you may need to replace the thermostat to restore proper functionality.

  • Another potential cause of this problem is an undersized water heater tank. If your water heater is too small for the demands of your household, it may struggle to keep up with your hot water needs. This can lead to a diminished supply of hot water or quick temperature drops. If you suspect that your water heater is undersized, you may need to consider upgrading to a larger tank or a tankless water heater that can provide a continuous supply of hot water.

  • Clogged pipes can also contribute to a low supply of hot water or rapidly cooling water. Over time, mineral deposits, sediment, or debris can accumulate in your pipes, obstructing the flow of hot water. This can lead to reduced hot water pressure and temperature inconsistencies. To address this issue, you can try flushing your water heater to remove any built-up sediment. If the problem persists, you may need to consult a professional plumber to inspect and clean your pipes.

  • Consider upgrading to a larger tank: If your current water heater tank is unable to meet your hot water demands, it may be undersized.

Ways to prevent future water heater problems

Water heater problems can be a major inconvenience, which is why it's important to take steps to prevent them from occurring in the future. By implementing a few simple measures, you can minimize the chances of having to deal with a malfunctioning water heater. Here are some effective ways to prevent future water heater problems:

  • Regular maintenance: Just like any other appliance, water heaters require regular maintenance to keep them running smoothly. It's a good idea to have a professional plumber inspect your water heater annually. They can check for any signs of wear and tear, clean the tank if necessary, and ensure that all components are functioning correctly.

  • Flushing the tank: Over time, sediment and mineral deposits can accumulate at the bottom of your water heater tank. This buildup can lead to reduced efficiency and even damage the tank. Flushing the tank annually can help remove these impurities and extend the lifespan of your water heater.

  • Adjusting the temperature: Setting your water heater temperature too high not only increases the risk of scalding but also puts unnecessary strain on the unit. Adjust the temperature to a safe and energy-efficient level, usually around 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This will not only reduce the risk of accidents but also help prolong the lifespan of your water heater.

  • Insulating the pipes: Insulating the hot water pipes can help minimize heat loss, reduce energy consumption, and prevent the water heater from overworking. By insulating the pipes, you can ensure that hot water reaches its destination faster, thus reducing strain on the water heater.

  • Checking the pressure relief valve: The pressure relief valve releases excess pressure from the water heater tank. It is crucial to ensure that this valve is functioning correctly to prevent pressure buildup that can lead to leaks or even explosions. Regularly check the valve for signs of leakage or corrosion and have it replaced if necessary.

  • Monitoring for signs of damage: Keep an eye out for any signs of water heater problems, such as leaks, unusual noises, or changes in water temperature. Catching potential issues early on can prevent them from escalating into major problems and save you from costly repairs or replacements.

By following these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of future water heater problems. Remember to consult a professional plumber for regular maintenance and address any concerns promptly to ensure the uninterrupted supply of hot water in your home.

Know when to call

in a licensed plumber

When it comes to water heater replacement, it is always advised to seek professional assistance if you are uncertain about repair or maintenance tasks. However, there are some basic steps you can follow to ensure your water heater remains in top condition and avoid potential problems. By adhering to these guidelines, you can help extend the lifespan of your water heater and save money in the long run.

What to look for in a licensed plumber

When it comes to water heater replacement, finding a licensed plumber is crucial. A licensed plumber has the knowledge and expertise needed to handle the installation process effectively and efficiently. However, not all plumbers are created equal, so it's important to know what to look for when choosing a licensed plumber for your water heater replacement.

  • Consider the plumber's experience in water heater replacement. Look for a plumber who has a proven track record in handling similar jobs. Ask for references and read reviews to get an idea of their past performance. An experienced plumber will know the ins and outs of water heater installation, ensuring that the job is done correctly and safely.

  • Make sure the licensed plumber you hire is familiar with your specific type of water heater. There are different types of water heaters - such as traditional tank heaters, tankless heaters, and hybrid heaters - each requiring different installation techniques. Finding a plumber who is knowledgeable about your particular type of water heater will ensure that the replacement is done right the first time.

  • In addition to expertise, it's important to consider the plumber's certifications and licenses. A licensed plumber has undergone the necessary training and has met the requirements set by the state or local authorities. Hiring a licensed plumber gives you peace of mind knowing that they have the qualifications necessary to perform the job correctly and in compliance with all regulations.

  • Look for a licensed plumber who is insured. Accidents happen, and having an insured plumber will protect you from any liability in case of property damage or injuries during the installation. Ask the plumber for proof of insurance and verify its validity before proceeding with the water heater replacement.

  • Consider the plumber's pricing. While it's essential to get a fair and competitive price, be cautious of extremely low prices that may indicate subpar workmanship or the use of inferior materials. Request a detailed quote that includes the cost of labor, materials, and any potential additional charges. A reputable plumber will be transparent about their pricing and provide you with a clear understanding of what you can expect to pay for the water heater replacement.

Reach out to an experienced professional

When it's time for a water heater replacement, it's important to reach out to an experienced professional. A water heater is a complex and vital appliance in our homes, providing us with hot water for various tasks like showering and cleaning. As such, it's crucial to ensure that the replacement is done correctly and efficiently.

Contact Us

One of the most significant investments you can make in your home is a water heater replacement.


PHONE:+(757) 379-8344

Newman's Plumbing Service and Repair

Portsmouth, VA 23701