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Most Common Water Heater Issues and How to Solve Them

by BrianReeves
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If you ever had a misfortune of having issues with your water heater, you probably wished you were more experienced or at least more informed on the matter, especially when finding the easiest and the most hassle free solution is concerned. On the other hand, you are certainly blessed if you never had any water heater issues at all. No matter which group you belong to, being familiar with potential problems would surely prove helpful in the future. This is why you should perhaps take a look at the most common water heater issues and the most practical solutions for them.

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Temperature Issues

The temperature could be too low, or too high. Try the simplest solution first by adjusting the temperature using water heater temperature dial. Wait a couple of hours and if it does not do the trick and makes no difference, consider the following actions.

If too cold water is your problem, and you have not been showering or bathing more frequently than usual, the problem must be caused either by a faulty thermostat or upper heater element. The solution is to check them both out. Start with the heater element. Turn off the water heater and when the water completely cool down, access the water heater and test it using multimeter or a multi-tester. If the reading shows 0 Ohm on a multi-tester or the multimeter needle does not move, the element needs to be replaced. Otherwise, your thermostat is faulty and you should replace it. Also, to provide more hot water, consider isolating the hot water pipes leading from your water heater to faucets, especially if they are long. You will save significant amount of energy by doing so.

If too hot water is the problem and it does not cool down a couple of hours after you lowered the temperature on the thermostat, the problem is caused by a pressure relief valve. There is only one solution, turn down the water heater’s temperature, let the water cool down and replace the water heater’s pressure relief valve.

Finally, if you have inadequate hot water, your water heater is either undersized and you should get a bigger one, the tank is filled with sediment or you have a broken or damaged dip tube and your hot and cold water is mixed inside the tank. Turn off the water heater and let it cool down. Leak the water out, clean all the sediments and check the dip tube for any leaks. This should settle the inadequate hot water problem.


If you cannot identify the leaking spot, go step by step and tighten all the bolts, both outside and inside the tank. If the leaking continues, check the T&P (temperature and pressure) relief valve. If this does not do the trick, check for any corrosion spots on the tank. Unfortunately, if there is serious corrosion, you will have to replace the entire water heater.

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Rusty water

If the water has a rusty color, there are two possible causes: the interior of the tank is corroded or water heater’s anode rod needs to be replaced. The rod is there to prevent the tank’s corrosion and luckily it is the usual cause. Either way, replacement is the only solution.

The last note of advice, do not procrastinate, the moment you spot the issue, resolve it. This will save you from more serious mold issues that could easily escalate if you postpone the repairmen.

This article was provided by Andrew Newitt. Besides being a full-time husband and dad, Andrew enjoys blogging about different home improvement techniques, from garden decoration to interior design.

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High Quality Water Heater Installation April 2, 2015 - 2:48 am

You’ve shared some great information on water heater issues. Homeowners will definitely benefit from the information in this article. Thanks for the helpful article!

Shipra November 26, 2015 - 12:04 am

Glad to read this informative article this is very useful.

Christine July 4, 2018 - 4:20 am

Is it possible to have black mold develop in our water heater. Our dishcloths smell of mold after a couple of days use and I noticed our cold water is tasting like mold. We also have black mold developing in our shower. We drained the water heater in April but we are having problems again. How can we treat this?

Pat Thom November 12, 2019 - 10:02 am

My daughter lives in an apartment complex it’s only about 4 years old the water tastes moldy were constantly bleaching the spicket filter yet the water taste terrible is it possible that there is mold in the tank itself Thank you very much. We can’t even drink the water is intolerable.


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