There are a number of situations in which home emergencies must be tended to immediately. A furnace that goes out or pipes that burst present real threats to the house and furnishings inside. There are other minor issues however such as hot water tank repair that fall into a gray area – they aren’t necessarily an emergency, it is a nuisance, and it is a sign of a potentially larger problem.
Besides screaming at the kids to turn off the sink or not flush the toilet when you’re in the shower trying to take a warm breather, there are a few methods to seek out for hot water tank repair when the water goes ice on you. Take these steps to get your tank back functioning or to determine if a replacement unit is needed.
Before calling in for hot water tank repair as soon as your shower starts losing some heat, first try and wait it out. A water heater tank holds a certain amount of water whether it is 30 gallons, 40 gallons, 50 or more. It takes a little bit of time to heat up this water and the supply is kept in a reserve. Thus when two or three members of the household take showers simultaneously it may drain the reserves rather quickly, especially if a dishwasher or kitchen sink is being used at the same time. While these times of frequent use are pretty rare, if they are a regular deal in your home you may want to think of upgrading your water tank size.
Check the Pilot Light
A hot water heater may not go down at all, instead it may have simply had the pilot light go out. A pilot light ignites the gas that heats the water in your home. This mechanism can go out for a number of reasons either because the power went out or an outside force pushed it off. Modern water tanks feature an easy ignition switch in which a valve is turned from ‘gas’ to ‘pilot’ and the light is restarted by holding down a button for a couple minutes. Older model water heaters require actually crawling down and locating the light and igniting it with a match or a barbecue lighter.
Flush the Water Heater of Sediments
Water and metal don’t always mix, especially in cool conditions like a utility room where a water heater would be located. The water coming into the system itself carries small bits of debris and combined with the flaking of the metal can plug the access holes of the tank. If there is a noticeable lack of pressure through your plumbing system, the only form of hot water tank repair you might need is just a good flushing of the system. By turning off the cold water and hooking up a garden hose to the water tank you can effectively flush a majority of the sediment that has been causing either low pressure or lack of hot water. This should be done between every 1 and 3 years.
Check Thermostat Settings / Electrical Issues
One of the main causes of a tank losing hot water either subtlety or altogether is bad thermostat or electrical elements. Perhaps the easiest solution to fix a lack of hot water coming through the system is to check for a flipped breaker. If a water heater is hooked up to its own power box it’s possible to lose electricity in the basement but still have lights in the bathroom. Flipping the breaker back on in the utility room should solve the problem. If the breaker continually trips you’re likely dealing with a fried element or two in the water heater itself. This is actually a very common occurrence as a lower element that is out you have a minimal supply of hot water but if the top element is out you’ll have none.
Another issue that might lead you to believe hot water tank repair is needed is thermostat issues. There could be faulty wiring with the thermostat or the temperature could just be turned down. Either way it’s probably best to have a professional look at the tank to make sure the problems aren’t caused by something more severe.
Repair Corrosion, Leaks, Etc.
Corrosion on the heads of the fittings and leaks in the tank will have negative effect on the performance of the plumbing. Leaks will result in low water pressure and corrosion will start to flake off and plug the tank. Most leaks can be replaced by either cleaning off the heads of the fittings or replacing them but advanced corrosion is cause for a tank replacement. Once again it’s best to get hot water tank repair on site to examine the situation and give the best plan for recourse.
Upgrade Tank Size
One thing that could cause a person to believe their water tank has gone bad is an increase in water consumption. Additional people living in the house, the inclusion of new appliances such as a dishwasher or hot tub, or the remodeling to add a bathroom could all increase the workload of the water heater. A 30 gallon tank may have been fine for one or two people just taking showers and doing the wash but it may time to upgrade as your household grows.
Get an Inspection
If you think your in need of hot water tank repair, the best plan of attack is to simply get an inspection. It’s much better to know what isn’t wrong than wonder what is.