5 Signs You Have a Broken Water Heater

Running out of hot water is no one's favorite way to start the day. Discovering a broken water heater can be a pain, but it’s not the end of the world. You may not even need a water heater repair. There are several reasons your water heater may be acting up. Some are easy to fix. Diagnosing your problem based on these 5 signs is a great place to start. Below you’ll find DIY resources and hopefully a better understanding of your options should you need to call a residential or commercial plumber for the job.

Check out this video from Quick Water & Filtration Co. for a great visual on how to identify leaks in different areas of your water heater. The information in signs 1 and 2 below will draw from and distill information from a section of this clip. 

SIGN #1: WATER HEATER TANK LEAKING FROM THE TOP

There are a few areas that your hot water tank can leak from. Where the leak is located will give you an indication of what your next steps should be. 

Looking at the top of the tank, if you find a leak in the cold water inlet, hot water outlet, or around the pipe of the temperature and pressure release valve, these are usually pretty easy water heater repairs. 

On the other hand, if the leak in your tank is coming from the vent collar or in the threads of the temperature and pressure release valve, you’re probably looking at a more expensive hot water tank replacement.

SIGN #2: WATER HEATER TANK LEAKING FROM THE BOTTOM

Regularly flushing your tank and staying up on maintenance will decrease the likelihood of water pooling up under the tank. That said, It’s not a good sign if it does happen. In that case — this is true regardless of whether you have a gas or electric water heater — you’ll likely need to call your local plumber for a replacement.

If it turns out you do need a new water heater with installation, we really do encourage calling a pro.

SIGN #3: NO HOT WATER

No big surprise here! If you’re not getting any hot water in your shower, sink, or dishwasher, your water heater isn’t doing its job. While the specific source of the problem may vary, in any case the unit will require attention of some sort. Calling your local plumber is the best way to ensure immediate safety and hot water for the household.  

SIGN #4: PILOT LIGHT IS OUT

Gas water heaters rely on a blue flame known as a pilot light. This light is essential to your water heater. This article from Family Handyman shows a very simple DIY way to replace the thermocouple if your pilot light ever goes out. That said, there are a variety of reasons it's wise to have a certified plumbing professional install your new unit. Some municipalities even require it! If you have any questions about legality or safety, give your local plumber a call for a water heater repair.

SIGN #5: SLOW OR INEFFICIENT HOT WATER 

Does your shower take forever to warm up? Maybe you do get hot water, but it doesn’t last long. Either of these may be another sign that something is wrong with your water heater. 

This post from MSP Plumbing Heating Air explains how if you find your hot water doesn’t last, you may have one of a couple issues. One possibility is a sediment buildup in the tank. A trained residential or commercial plumber can flush your hot water tank and fix the problem. If you’re in the Canal Winchester or Columbus areas, give us a call!  

This article from Len The Plumber outlines a few potential solutions if your water heats up too slowly. One way to fix this is with a tankless water heater or a hybrid heat pump model. These alternative types of water heaters have a variety of benefits. Climate Masters provides a list of hybrid heat pump heater benefits, one of which is its “on-demand function” that means you’ll always have hot water no matter what! Tankless water heaters offer some similar benefits. Either model can be an excellent solution to the problem of water taking too long to heat up. 

If you suspect an issue with your water heater, feel free to give us a call. The Plumbing One team has been a trusted industry name in Ohio for over a decade. If one of these 5 signs suggests there’s something wrong with your water heater, your local Columbus plumbers are here to help. Hot water issues can be frustrating, but there’s always a solution. Whether you need a professional plumber or just a DIY question answered, you can count on the Plumbing One team to be around when you need us.

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A plumber working on the pipes on the underside of a bathroom sink.