Five common hot water heater problems every landlord should know about
A water heater is one of those appliances that ensures comfort in any setting and makes our lives so
much easier. Having a functional hot water system is something we can’t imagine living without, and
thus we tend to take it for granted. But just like any other piece of machinery, water heaters have a
limited life-span, and they can break down at one point or another. The average life expectancy of a
water heater is about 8 to 12 years. We will explore some common water heater problems and advice how to fix or if you should call a professional.
Obviously, with proper maintenance and care, any piece of equipment will last longer, but you can’t
ignore the wear and tear that occurs over the years. Even if you don’t have to replace your water heater
with a brand new one when it starts to show signs of malfunction, you have to be prepared for potential
problems. If experience has taught us anything is that water heater problems hit when you least expect
What do you do when your water heater stops working, and you’re no professional plumber? The
most important thing is not to panic. Then, you have to assess the situation calmly and think about your
options. While the easiest way to fix any problem is by calling in a plumber, you can save the day yourself in some cases. But first, you must learn a thing or two about the most common water heater problems and the most effective ways to address them. Water temperature fluctuations are probably the most common water heater problems are not having hot water or the exact opposite, water being too hot. Water temperature fluctuations happen quite often, and they’re usually not a tragedy, but we’ll admit they can be very annoying. Funny enough (or maybe not), in some cases, all you have to do is adjust the thermostat as it might have been hit by mistake, and that could explain the
sudden temperature change. If the thermostat is already set at the right temperature, but the water doesn’t heat, the problem might be the thermostat itself, and you should consider replacing it.
Other potential causes include:
- Water tank leaks
- Damaged gas control or burn assembly
- Mineral deposits
- Damaged temperature-pressure relief valve
If you want to perform any plumbing work on the hot water system yourself, you must locate the
building hot water shut off valve before proceeding. However, if you’re experiencing any of the above
issues, it’s better to get the help of a professional as trying to fix things yourself can be dangerous and
can lead to further damage to your home.
Discolored or smelly water
Discolored or smelly water is another common issue that many landlords experience. When it comes to
water discoloration, the culprit is usually represented by the high mineral levels in the water, leading to rusty pipes. This might not pose a severe threat to your health, but it can cause serious damage to the water system in the building and affect the performance of your appliances. If you want your water heater, washing machine or dishwasher to work correctly, you shouldn’t ignore this issue. Besides, the solution is straightforward: installing a water filter or a water softener system in the building. If it’s bad water odors bothering you lately, you have to do some investigations to figure out the cause. If you suspect the hot water tank might be to blame, perform a simple test by letting the hot water run for a few minutes. If you notice a foul smell, it might mean bacteria are growing in the water tank. When this happens, you can try to flush the water tank to get rid of the problem. However,
if this doesn’t seem to help, and the odor is very strong, the gas line can be the problem. In this instance,
you have to turn the unit off, call a plumber, and contact the gas utility company.
If your water temperature suddenly drops, it might be a sign you’re dealing with a leak in your water
heater. Before you get down to business and try to repair the leak, you must first figure out what caused
the leak in the first place. Causes can vary: it can be old age, poor-quality plumbing, lack of maintenance.
Work, a loose drain valve, or high-water pressure to the tank. The extent of the water leak is another
aspect to consider. You might notice pools of water near the water heater or some water dripping
from it or the pipes connected to it. In the best-case scenario, you’re dealing with a loose valve that can be
easily replaced. But if corrosion is what caused the leak, then you’ll have no choice but to replace the water tank.
Noisy water heater
When a water heater starts making strange noises, it’s time to have it checked out. Most times, it’s not a
serious cause of concern, but you have to address it either way. Mineral buildup can be once again the
reason for your water heater issues. The good news, you can prevent this from happening if you flush
your water heater regularly (ideally once a year). It’s a lot worse if you hear a boiling sound coming from your water heater. This means that the unit is overheating and can lead to pressure buildup, which, as you can assume, can be a hazardous issue if left unattended. This calls for immediate professional intervention.
Damaged gas control or burner assembly
A damaged gas control or burner can also be responsible for a malfunctioning water heater. If the
burner is dirty or damaged, the water won’t heat up. The obvious solution here is to replace the broken
gas control or burner. If you feel like you’re up to the task, you can replace the assembly yourself, but
remember, you have to turn off the gas and the water supply before you start. However, caution is
always the best policy. If you want to avoid making a costly or risky mistake, calling in a professional
plumber is always the safest way to go.