3 ways to troubleshoot a water heater - HMS National, Inc.

3 ways to troubleshoot a water heater

November 13, 2014

There's no worse time to find that your water heater isn't working right than when you're ready to wind down at the end of a long day with a warm shower. Whether the water just won't get warm or it comes out a gross brown color, there are a few quick fixes that might be able to solve the problem. Use these three steps to troubleshoot your water heater and figure out if you'll need to call for backup.

1. The water isn't hot
If you've been having issues getting enough hot water regularly, chances are that your water heater is too small. However, if it's a new problem, there are a couple of ways to fix it. First, check the temperature setting on the appliance. It should be set between 120 and 150 degrees. If it's too low, try adjusting the dial to increase the warmth of your water. You can also flush the tank to clear out any mineral deposits that might be affecting the appliance's performance. If you're still not having any luck, it might be time to call a plumber.

2. Hot water is discolored
When both hot and cold water come out discolored, that probably means there's an issue with your water source. On the other hand, if just the warm water is discolored, the problem is in your water heater. If the water contains a high level of sulfates or other minerals, it can turn brown or produce a strange odor. If this happens, flush out your water heater to get rid of any buildup. If that doesn't solve the problem, your water heater's anode rod might need to be replaced. It's best to call a service professional to examine these pieces and determine if they need to be replaced.

3. Water heater is noisy
Sometimes your water heater might start making strange popping noises or just making a racket when you turn on a tap. The first problem is generally a result of mineral deposits that build up in the tank, so go ahead and flush the system to get them out. Another common issue is that scale builds up on the elements of your water heater. It's best to call a service professional to examine these pieces and determine if they need to be replaced.

The information in these articles is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.