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DIY How to Repair Water Heaters

by Guest Post on Sep 10, 2013

Not having enough hot water or any hot water at all can be a major problem around your home. Taking a shower or doing the dishes in cold water is rather difficult and thus immediate attention to fix the problem is required. To find out the reason for the problem, troubleshoot, and attempt to fix it if possible. Most of the water heater repairs can be carried out at home with some basic knowledge of its functioning.

Troubleshooting Electric Water Heaters

Start with the breaker and fuse, check these to ensure that there is no problem with the power supply. Electric water heaters typically use high voltage current supply to ensure that all safety precautions are in place before beginning any repairs on them. Once this is done, check the thermostats for problems.

Once these problems are ruled out or resolved and yet the problem persists, move on to check the heating element. Electric heaters are fitted with two heating elements, one on top and the other at the bottom. This may require opening up the heater and part replacement as well. The filament could have worn out or covered with sediment.  Cleaning it with a non-corrosive solvent will help.

The other problem that could arise is leakage. It could be in the inlet or outlet pipes, pressure relief valves, or even in the tank. If pipes are leaking they need to be replaced and tanks may need repairs or replacement as well. The pressure relief valve is a safety device to maintain the pressure inside the tank and a faulty one can lead to leaks. One of the reasons for less or no hot water could be this as the heater begins to leak. Replacing the valve is the only option.

Apart from all these electrical and spare problems that are possible in an electric water heater, other simple problems include rumbling noise, foul odor, and discolored water too. The noise is due to the formation of sediments inside the tank due to high salt content. The smell could be due to an exposed anode rod that is leading to bacterial build up and could also be the reason for discolored water. Flushing the tank and cleaning it with a suitable solvent can fix this problem. Sometimes replacing the anode rod may be required.

Troubleshooting Gas Water Heaters

In the case of gas heaters, problems arise due to a faulty burner or gas valve. The first check to be done in the case of these heaters is the thermocouple. This is a safety device that controls gas supply and a faulty one can put off the pilot light. Ignition of the burner is through this pilot light and thus leads to heating problems. This then needs to be replaced and may require professional help.

A faulty gas valve could also be a problem. This can lead to a potentially dangerous situation with gas build-up or leak that can be explosive. The burner may also need cleaning of sediments for a proper flame. The other, relatively simpler problems include a leak in the pressure relief valve, leaks in the tank or pipes, noise, and smell. Again a step-by-step troubleshooting procedure to check the various parts will help fix it. Ensure that the gas supply to the heater has been turned off.

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