All About Water Heaters

Water heaters are appliances that use thermodynamics to heat water at home for basic amenities. The major water heaters are powered by either gas or electric. They both use insulated steel storage tank jackets with insulation between the storage tank and the jacket to minimize heat loss after water is heated. Gas water heaters are suitable for large families due to their rapid recovery and low maintenance cost. Electric heater require minimal maintenance because the have very minimal moving parts.

Things To Look For When Your Water Heater Is About To Fail

Just like other appliances, water heaters do become faulty due to different reasons. The problems may include;

  • smelling like rotten eggs
  • water leaking at the base of the heater
  • high pitched whining
  • low hot water pressure
  • low popping or rumbling noise
  • rust colored water
  • clogged drainage valve

A majority of these problems may be solved without the assistance of an expert plumber. Before starting the troubleshooting procedure when the heater becomes faulty, one should prepare efficiently for the process by following some general simple steps. First, turn off the power supply if an electric heater is involved. This is achieved by turning off the fuse or circuit breaker. Then ensure the gas pilot control valve is at the “pilot” setting. Finally shut the water supply to the water heater before getting to the heater. After completing these simple steps, the troubleshooting,repair and maintenance process may begin.

Troubleshooting Hot Water Heaters

Some of the most common problems include a clogged drainage valve. This is easily solved by clearing the valve and cleaning it to ensure that no solid materials are present to block it. This clearing should usually be done on regular basis as a maintenance procedure to ensure that the heater lasts long and works optimally. The smell of rotten eggs may be caused by bacteria in the tank sediment nourished by hydrogen gas emitted from the decay of sacrificial anode. This may be solved by flushing the heater or introducing 3% hydrogen peroxide to treat the tank. Rust colored water may be due corrosion of the interior of glass lined tank. This means that the sacrificial anode rod is failing but it can be easily replaced by a magnesium anode rod. In the case that water is not heating in an electric water heater, easily replace the fuse or reset tripped circuit breakers.

Leaks may be caused by faulty connections from the tank or at the heater itself. These are solved by tightening the connections and if its the self relief valve that is leaking, the temperature to which the water is heated is reduced slightly. The low rumbling noise may be caused by accumulation of sediments and this is solved by simply flushing the water heater to remove the sediments. The higher pitched whining noise may be due to build up of scale material on electrical heating elements.This is solved by cleaning the scale away from the water heater tank and elements and installing low-watt density heating elements which due to their enormous surface areas transfer heat to water efficiently.

Other problems may be a bit complex to be solved without involving an expert plumber. In the case that the heater leaks at the base, it may be due to a crack on the heater and this requires skilled repairs to ensure that the leak is contained. Resetting of thermostats also require experts to ensure that the heater is not destroyed in the process. Undoubtedly, the water heaters are vital in the daily domestic activities. What makes them popular is that they are reliable and do not break down easily. They are also cost effective as they require low maintenance costs and are easily repaired by the owner.