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Your Water Heater Isn’t Doing Its Job—Here’s Our Advice

Your Water Heater Isn’t Doing Its Job—Here’s Our Advice

No matter how hot it gets outside in summer, there’s one heating appliance in your home that has to work each day: the water heater. People in your home still need hot showers in the morning, and hot water is still necessary for cooking and cleaning.

If you’ve noticed that the water heater isn’t doing what it’s supposed to—you don’t have enough hot water or the water from the taps isn’t getting sufficiently hot—it’s something to investigate as soon as possible. Here’s our advice on what to do when your water heater seems to be falling behind.

Check the aquastat

The aquastat is the temperature gauge on the water heater. In most cases, you don’t need to change it from its factory setting. If you do notice a drop in water temperature in the house, make sure the aquastat hasn’t been accidentally set too low. A temperature below 120°F can lead to water that’s lukewarm.

However, please don’t push the aquastat up higher as a way to compensate for a decline in water temperature if the aquastat already above 120°F. This doesn’t solve the root problem and it might lead to accidental scalding. The aquastat should never be higher than 140°F.

Look for any indication of leaks

Check around the water heater to see if there is any water buildup, such as puddles or moisture. Look over the tank for water droplets. You shouldn’t see any water leaking from the tank except from the pressure relief valve. If there are signs of water around the units, call for repairs right away.

Check the pilot light/ignition system

The trouble may be due to the gas heaters failing to fully ignite (if you have a gas-powered water heater). Older water heaters may use a standing pilot light to ignite the burners, so check to see if the pilot light is burning. For newer water heaters with electronic ignition, the igniter may be turning on intermittently. Also watch for delayed firing of the gas burners, which warns that there’s carbon build-up along them. You must have trained professionals handle any repairs for gas lines and ignition systems.

Remember the age of the water heater

A water heater that isn’t keeping up is often a sign that it’s coming to the end of its service life. Although repairs may help, they won’t help for long, and the best choice is to have the entire system replaced. The standard tank water heater may last for 15 to 20 years. If your water heater is older than 20 years, we suggest calling a technician to see about replacing it.

Except for a simple mistake with the aquastat, most of these troubles with a declining water heater require professional repairs. Don’t try to fix the system on your own, especially a gas-powered unit. Have a professional check the system, find out what’s wrong, and recommend targeted repairs or a replacement. The sooner you have this done, the sooner you’ll have your hot water worries taken care of. For water heater replacement or water heater repair in Sacramento, CA, call our experts.

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