If your water heater runs out of water very quickly or no longer produces enough hot water, you may wonder if it's time to upgrade the appliance soon. Before you upgrade or replace your water heater, see if you can fix it first. The following troubleshooting tips can help you fix or replace your water heater today.
Adjust the Temperature Settings
Water heaters stop heating water for a number of reasons. The most common reason is a low thermostat setting. The temperature on your water heater's thermostat should fall between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature falls below 120 degrees, the water may not be reasonably hot enough for you to use.
Check the thermostat on your appliance. If the temperature reads lower than 120 degrees, raise it several degrees until the water feels hot enough for you. For safety reasons, don't go beyond 140 degrees. Excessively hot water could scald or burn your skin.
If the water's temperature still remains on the cool side, even after you safely adjust the thermostat, check the tank for problems.
Troubleshoot the Tank
Although the metal tank of your water heater may seem indestructible, it isn't. Metal corrodes or rusts over time, especially if it's constantly exposed to water. If there's corrosion inside or outside the tank, it could be the reason for the problems you're having right now. You want to troubleshoot every area of the tank to see if it succumbed to corrosion.
First, check the bottom of the tank for large patches of rust. If you find rust along the bottom of the tank, look to see if there's any water on the flooring around the appliance. Water heaters stored below the home, such as in the basement, can come into contact with standing water. Standing water can interact with the tank and corrode it.
If you don't find any type of standing water in the basement or storage room floor, feel the bottom of the tank to see if you can find a leak. If your hand looks or feels damp, call a plumber immediately. You could have a damaged sacrificial anode on your hands.
Replace the Water Heater
The sacrificial anode is the lifeblood of your water heater. The anode prolongs the life of your water heater by extracting or collecting hard water minerals out of the water. If the anode collects too many minerals, it can slowly succumb to corrosion and fail. The corrosive materials can quickly spread throughout the tank and damage your water heater.
If a plumber doesn't find a tremendous amount of rust in the water heater tank and other parts, they may remove the old sacrificial anode and replace it with a new one. The new anode should solve the majority or all of your water heater problems.
If a plumber finds extensive corrosion throughout the tank or water heater, go ahead and choose a replacement. Your water heater is most likely to fail soon. Even if a plumber replaces the sacrificial anode, the corroded tank will eventually fail.
You may want to replace your water heater with a more advanced appliance. Advanced water heaters come with features that alert you if the appliance is failing, losing water, or using too much energy. Some newer models also come with smart features, which allows you to monitor the appliances with your cellular phone or tablet. You can use the smart features to keep track of your appliance's repairs and other services during the year.
If you're having multiple issues with your hot water heater and need help determining why, contact a water heater service today.