woman showering experiencing water heater problems

Troubleshooting Four Common Water Heater Problems

Your water heater is one of your essential comforts of life. While there are benefits to taking a cold bath or shower, it can be very difficult, especially when temperatures begin to drop during the colder months. Here are four common problems of water heaters and what you can do about them.

Too Little or No Hot Water

If you think water from your faucet isn’t hot enough, you may want to turn up the temperature of your heater by adjusting the thermostat. But first, turn off your water heater. Failing to do so could lead to electrocution. You can follow this step-by-step guide on how you can adjust your thermostat. Be careful, though, setting it too high will release scalding water. The ideal temperature is 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius), according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Rusty Water

Brownish or tinted water could mean your water heater tank is rusting from the inside. Corrosion is common in water tanks and pipes made of steel. If not fixed immediately, rust will slowly spread and eat away through the steel and may cause leaks.

You can fix this by flushing the tank. This way, you flush out rust sediment trapped inside. Once the water has been flushed out, unscrew and remove the drain valve to gain access to the bottom of the tank. Insert a long, narrow brush to the drain, and brush off the remaining sediment from the tank’s walls. After this, fill the tank with three to five gallons of water and let it drain.

Understandably, this could mean a lot of work for you. If you are unable or incapable of doing this yourself, we recommend finding a plumber specializing in water heater repair services.

Rumbling/Popping Sounds When Heating

heater repair

When water is heated, mineral deposits form and settle at the bottom of the tank. Over time, the sediment hardens and becomes thicker. Noise is caused when hot water bubbles up through the sediment. The sediment causes the tank to become brittle and makes heating longer.

If the sediment gets to a point where it is thick enough that you cannot flush it anymore, you might have to replace the tank. To prevent this, you should flush your water heater every few months. Likewise, you can also install a water softener in your primary water line to reduce buildup.


When ignored, a simple leak can flood your home, which will mean more repairs. In addition, damp and wet spots in your house can lead to mold and mildew, which may cause asthma and allergic reactions. Do a quick inspection to determine the source of the leak. After inspecting, turn the heater off. Check the temperature and pressure valve as well as the drain valve. Maybe simply tightening loose bolts is the solution. If the valves aren’t the problem, it could be the tank’s interior. It might have already corroded due to rust.

With these tips in mind, you can now do simple troubleshooting to address common water heater problems you might experience in your house.

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