Monday, February 13, 2006

Tips for Troubleshooting Your Water Heater

A hot water heater is one of the most important appliances in any home, but no one seems to take much notice of it until something goes wrong. Not having hot water is no fun, no matter what the reason, and foul smelling, bad tasting or discolored water is no picnic either. It is a good idea for every homeowner to know how to troubleshoot and resolve common problems with this important piece of equipment.

Tips for troubleshooting hot water heater problems:

1. First, be sure that the circuit breaker has not tripped. If you have an electric hot water heater and are not getting any water to the unit, first check to make sure it is getting electricity. If the circuit breaker is fine, press the reset button on the thermostat. This reset button should be located just inside the access panel.

2. If the water is discolored, the culprit may be a buildup of sediments and salts. This may also be the problem if the water takes a long time to replenish. If a buildup of sediments is the problem you will have to drain the tank completely, then flush it out thoroughly with clean, clear water.

3. If the plumbing is noisy, be sure to check the temperature setting on the water heater. The noise may be coming from the buildup of steam in the pipes due to the temperature being set too high.

4. Be sure you are not running too many appliances that use hot water at one time. For instance, running the dishwasher and washing machine at the same time can leave no hot water for your shower.

5. Check for the smell of sulfur in the water. If the water smells like sulfur it could indicate a problem with bacteria. If this is the problem all that may be needed to control the bacteria is a good dose of chlorine.

6. Check the temperature of the water when the tank is full. Run hot water from the tap over a thermometer and check the temperature. The reading should be within five degrees of the setting on the hot water heater. If you see a larger discrepancy, replace the thermostat on the unit.

Keeping your hot water heating trouble free and in tip top shape does take a bit of work, but you will be happy you took the time the next time you climb in the shower and enjoy a long, relaxing, and most importantly, hot shower.

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