Many homeowners give little thought to their water heaters until something goes wrong. When that happens, it can feel like a major disruption to daily life, resulting in fewer hot showers and more dirty dishes.
Electric tank water heaters produce hot water with upper and lower heating elements. Often, the problem is a broken element, which can be fixed with simple tools. For more information, click the Water Heater Repair Tampa to proceed.
Leaks in a water heater are a nuisance and can lead to serious issues. When leaks continue for long periods, they can ruin floors, walls, and even precious possessions. Homeowners need to know where the leaks are coming from so they can have them repaired as quickly and easily as possible.
Before attempting any repairs, the first step is to determine if the leaks are from condensation or actual problems with the water heater. This can be done by wiping down the outside of the tank and looking for moisture. If there is, this usually means that the tank is nearing the end of its life and needs to be replaced.
The next thing to check is the two pipes at the top of the water heater: the cold water inlet and the warm water outlet. If these are leaking, it is likely because their fittings are loose. Typically, these can be tightened using a pipe wrench, but in some cases, they may need to be replaced entirely.
Another common reason a water heater leaks is the temperature and pressure relief valve (T&P) is faulty or failing. The T&P valve relieves the built-up pressure within the tank and prevents the tank from overheating. If the T&P valve is defective, it will need to be replaced as soon as possible to avoid a failure.
Sometimes, a water heater leaks because the plumbing tubes that run to and from it are loose or corroded. If the tubes are rusty or loose, they must be replaced immediately. It’s important to note that when working with hot water, you should wear protective gear and turn off the water supply before trying to repair or replace any components on a water heater.
A thermostat is a crucial component in water heaters and can be one of the first parts to fail. If your hot water is less hot than it used to be, or it takes longer than usual for your faucets to kick on and funnel hot water into your tub, it may be time to check out your upper or lower thermostat.
Both thermostats can be found underneath the access panel of a single-element electric water heater and under the cover of an electrical dual-element model. Before you begin working on either one, ensure the unit’s power is completely shut off. You can do this by scanning your home’s circuit breaker panel and flipping the switch to the “off” position. It’s also wise to use a voltage tester or multimeter before touching any components to ensure you don’t accidentally get shocked by electricity running through your water heater.
Once you’ve turned off the power, remove the access panel covers and insulation to reveal the thermostats. You can test them by connecting one meter lead to the reset terminal and the other to the left-side terminal (the one with the power wires). A meter display that indicates close to zero Ohms of resistance means your thermostat is functioning correctly.
If the upper thermostat isn’t getting any power, it may be time to replace it. You can purchase a new thermostat from your local hardware store, home center, or plumber’s wholesaler. Installing the new one is a simple process that involves screwing it into place with your fingers or pliers if necessary.
The element is the component that physically heats water in a standard electric hot-water heater. When this part burns out, it can prevent the unit from producing hot water. You can replace the heating element yourself, but it’s best to enlist the help of a professional so that you avoid accidentally causing other issues with your water heater.
Before working on the element, shut off power to your electric water heater at the circuit breaker or fuse box that controls the tank’s circuit. It would help if you also drained the water heater by closing the hot-water supply valve and opening a cold-water inlet valve nearby to clear out sediment that has built up over time.
First, remove the old element from the tank by turning a screw attached to the element’s socket counterclockwise or using a ratchet wrench on a flange-type element. Once the old element is removed, clean the area where the new one will be fastened with a cloth. Then, insert the replacement heating element and attach it by tightening the screws (screw-in type) or flange-type mounting screws until secure. Make sure to match the voltage and wattage of the replacement to the original one, which you can find on the element’s data plate or a label on the front of the water heater tank.
Once you have the new element attached, close the water heater drain and open the cold-water inlet valve and a hot-water faucet to purge the lines of sediment and air. Then, connect the black and white circuit wires by wrapping them around the screw terminals on the element in a clockwise direction. The upper heating element is likely burned out if your water heater produces lukewarm or no hot water.
A dip tube is a metal or plastic tube at the top of your water heater. It is used to push cold water towards the bottom of the tank where it is heated, keeping a constant supply of hot water in your home. If a dip tube breaks, cold water leaks out the top and mingles with the hot water, impacting your home’s water temperature.
The best way to test whether a dip tube is faulty is to open the drain valve and run water through it. If you notice sediment flowing out, this is a sign that the dip tube needs replacing. Luckily, replacing the dip tube is relatively simple and can be done at home with basic tools.
First, turn off the power to your water heater at the circuit breaker. This prevents electric shock and protects the circuit board from damage. Next, disconnect the cold water line at the top of the tank by unscrewing the short piece of pipe threaded on both ends. Using a flat screwdriver, loosen the inlet nipple and connector on the old tube and remove it. It is important to be gentle when removing this part, as mishandling could cause it to break into small plastic fragments that will make their way to the bottom of your tank.
Install a new tube by inserting it into the inlet and connecting it to the nipple. It is best to use a curved tube, which swirls the water inside the tank when it goes through it and helps reduce the sediment that collects in the bottom. Once the new tube is in place, wrap it with plumber’s tape. This tape will help prevent any water leaks from forming around the joint.
Water is heated in a tank and fed to your home’s hot water service line through a dip tube. This tube can sometimes crack or break, allowing cold water to mix with your hot water. This can cause your water to be odorous or discolored. It can also indicate that you need to install a whole-house water filter. A professional plumber can replace your dip tube if necessary.
The water heater’s pressure valve is designed to prevent overpressure inside the tank. If the water heater tank has too much pressure, it could burst and flood your home with hot water. The pressure relief valve opens when the internal temperature and pressure reach a safe limit.
In its normal, open position, the valve has a disc or poppet held against a seat by a spring. When the pressure in the water heater rises, the disc moves from its resting place against the seat, allowing fluid to exit the tank.
Mineral deposits and other debris can clog a water heater’s pressure relief valve. It’s important to regularly check your pressure relief valve and flush it at least once a year to keep it working properly.
Several other components help to make your water heater work well, such as the drain valve, which allows you to empty the tank. There is also the sacrificial anode rod, which is made of magnesium or aluminum and helps retard corrosion in your tank. A sacrificial anode rod should be replaced periodically, as it can deteriorate over time. Lastly, your water heater is insulated to prevent heat loss. Having your water heater inspected and maintained regularly will prolong its life.