The water heater is one of those appliances that are often out of sight and out of mind until something goes wrong. Then it’s time to take action like Hot Water Heater Repair Morris County.
The first step is to check if the circuit breaker or fuse has tripped. If it has, reset it. If it keeps tripping, the issue is likely the thermostat or the high-temperature cutoff switch.
A hot water heater tank is an important part of your home, and when it’s not working correctly, you must take care of it quickly. One of the first signs of a problem is no hot water at all. If you go to wash dishes and you’re met with cold water, or if the shower starts out warm and then turns cold, you need to turn off your water valves and call in a professional for a quick water heater repair job.
Another sign of a problem is loud noises coming from the water heater tank. This could be a clanging sound that means that sediment is building up at the bottom of the tank, which will cause the hot water to be heated more rapidly than it should and may result in scalding water in your household.
You should also keep an eye out for leaks from the water heater tank. While you may be able to fix a leak on the pressure relief valve by shutting off the water supply and letting the tank drain into a bucket, this is something that should be left to a professional. Leaks from the tank can lead to rust and rot within your home, so you should contact a professional water heater repair service to have it fixed immediately.
An anode rod is a metal probe that is suspended inside your water heater tank to protect it from corrosion. It acts as a magnet by pulling corrosive minerals and other substances to it instead of the steel lining within your tank. The rod typically lasts three years, and you should replace it if it becomes caked with mineral deposits or rusted.
While it’s not possible to predict the lifespan of your water heater, you can prolong its life with regular flushing of the tank and other maintenance tasks. You can also help your water heater run more efficiently by ensuring that it is insulated and in an area where it won’t be subjected to freezing temperatures. A new water heater is a good option if yours is approaching the end of its lifespan, as it will likely save you money over the long term.
The thermostat regulates the water temperature inside your heater, ensuring that it doesn’t get too hot and create a potential scalding danger for anyone using the water. If the water isn’t being heated properly, there could be a problem with the thermostat or one of the heating elements. To determine whether the issue is with the thermostat, you’ll need to perform a few tests.
Start by turning off power to your water heater from the circuit breaker panel. Once this has been done, you can safely remove the access panels for the upper and lower sections of your heater. Once you have the cover off, locate the thermostat and begin testing it.
Using your digital multimeter, turn the dial to the lowest ohms of resistance and begin measuring the resistance through the terminal screws for each part. If the reading is a perfect 0, it means the thermostat is working properly. If it is a 1, it means the thermostat is faulty and will need to be replaced.
For the upper thermostat, touch one meter lead to the left common terminal and the other to the right heating element terminal. If the multimeter reads close to zero, this means that the heating element is functioning and the thermostat is regulating the heating of the water. If the multimeter doesn’t read any continuity, this means there is a broken wire or other electrical problem that is shorting out and causing the reading.
Repeat this process with the lower thermostat by touching one meter lead to the lower common terminal and the other to the lower heating element terminal. If the reading is close to zero, the upper and lower heating elements are functioning properly. If the reading is a 1, this means that the upper and lower thermostats are not communicating with each other and are not regulating the temperature of the water being produced. This could also be caused by a faulty high-temperature cutoff reset button, so make sure to test this as well. If all else fails, this may be a sign of a problem with the relief valve, which will need to be exercised and replaced.
A broken water heater element is one of the most common reasons you’ll find yourself with a lack of hot water. Luckily, the element is relatively inexpensive and easy to replace yourself. And, unlike many other issues, testing the heating element is simple and doesn’t require draining the tank or messing with gas or water lines.
Before you get started, be sure to turn off the power to the water heater at your home’s main circuit breaker box—a 1-foot by 2-foot metal box usually located in the garage or basement. Also, make sure the water heater is completely cooled down. Finally, use a noncontact voltage tester to make sure the electric wires leading to the heater element are dead before you begin working.
Most full-sized residential water heaters have two elements—the top and bottom—and each performs a different function. Depending on the symptoms, you can determine which of the two is faulty by testing them with a multimeter.
To test your water heater’s heating element, turn on your multimeter and set it to Rx1k. Touch one probe of your multimeter to a screw on the front of the heater element and touch the other probe to any metal surface on your water heater. If the needle on your multimeter moves, your heating element is bad and needs to be replaced.
Once your heating element is replaced, turn OFF electric power to the water heater. Shut off your hot water faucet and drain the tank. Alternatively, you can run a hose from the drain spigot to a safe outdoor location (like your yard) and drain the tank until the water line is below the element. Remove the access cover and fold back insulation. Before you reconnect the element’s electric wires, remove the plastic terminal protector and use your volt meter or circuit tester to check for power before loosening the screws. Also, be sure to clean the area where the new gasket is positioned in the tank. Reconnect all wires and tighten screws. Turn ON the electrical power to the water heater. If you aren’t comfortable performing electrical work on your own, hire a professional to ensure your safety and the quality of your work.
The Anode Rod
The anode rod is the unsung hero of a traditional water heater. It prevents tank corrosion by attracting rust and other metals to it, thereby protecting the tank itself. The rod is made from a magnesium, aluminum, or zinc-aluminum alloy and screws into the top of the tank. It should be replaced at least every five years but may need to be replaced more often if your water has a lot of minerals or if you use a sodium-based water softener.
Inspect the anode rod regularly for signs that it needs to be replaced. It will likely have a rusty appearance, and some parts of the rod may be pitted or completely corroded down to the steel wire inside. You can also test the condition of the anode rod by running hot and cold water in a clear glass. The hottest water will tend to attract the anode rod more, so it will look darker in the glass than the cold water.
When the anode rod is close to needing replacement, drain the water heater and flush the tank to remove any sediment that has collected. Draining the tank doubles as an opportunity to clean the tank lining, which can also extend its life.
Locate the six-sided screw head at the top of the water heater; this is the anode rod. It’s likely to be frozen in place by corrosion, so spray a lubricant such as WD-40 onto the head and use an impact wrench to loosen it most of the way. If it’s still stuck, you can try using a cheater pipe over the wrench handle to increase your torque.
Once the hex head is removed, you can replace the anode rod. You’ll want to choose a new anode rod based on your water quality and your budget. If your water has a lot of non-harmful bacteria or minerals, opt for a magnesium anode rod; for hard water, an aluminum one is best. If you don’t have much headspace above the heater to accommodate a new, traditional style anode rod, you can purchase flexible ones that have short segments that snap together like tent poles.