If your water heater is leaking or emitting a rotten egg smell, draining and flushing it may help. This is a job best left to a professional like Hot Water Heater Repair Morris County.
If your tank is nearing the end of its typical lifespan, replacement may be smarter than repair. Replacing elements is fairly inexpensive but time-consuming.
The thermostat is a device that monitors temperature and reacts to it. It’s found in heating and cooling systems, refrigerators, and even car radiators. It has a simple objective: to keep the space in which it’s located within a certain set limit.
One way it does this is by triggering the system to work when the room’s temperature rises above or drops below the thermostat’s set point. It is possible that your hot water heater’s thermostat is faulty and needs to be replaced.
Another way the thermostat affects your hot water heater is by controlling the heating elements. If the hot water in your home is smelling or looking bad, it’s likely that one of the heating elements is malfunctioning. This is usually due to a damaged element, which will need to be replaced.
If you’re not getting enough hot water, your water heater could be undersized. Replacing it with a larger unit may be the best course of action.
When your hot water is running out too fast during a shower, it could mean that the upper or lower heating element has failed or is malfunctioning. If you notice the water has a foul smell or is discolored, it’s most likely that the problem is with the water source and a whole-house water filter is needed.
A traditional thermostat is a small vial that contains mercury and three wires. When the switch is tilted left or right, one of the wires connects to a terminal on the circuit board. The other connects to a blue wire that’s connected to the bimetallic strip (more on this below). This is the thermometer in this kind of thermostat, which works by coiling and uncoiling based on temperature.
If you’re replacing your old thermostat, make sure that the new thermostat you buy is compatible with your current wiring scheme. Using a picture of the current setup and a permanent marker, take note of all the different colors on each wire to help you match them up with the proper connections in your new thermostat. Shut off the power to your water heater by turning off the circuit breaker or flipping the breaker to the “Off” position. Remove the access panel, insulation, and plastic safety guard from each of the two heating elements on your water heater. Test each of the electrical wires for voltage with a non-contact tester before touching them.
The Anode Rod
The anode rod is a metal rod that screws into the top of your water heater. It’s usually made of aluminum, magnesium or a zinc-aluminum alloy. It is not uncommon for white minerals, such as calcium carbonate, to collect on the outside of your anode rod. This is normal and actually beneficial because the minerals on the anode rod corrode first, protecting your water tank and pipes from rust and corrosion.
The anode Rod is known as a “sacrificial” rod because it corrodes, sacrificing itself, so that other metal components, such as the pipes and the water heater tank itself, do not rust and break down. It is recommended that you replace your anode rod every few years.
If you notice sediment build up on your anode rod or that it is completely corroded down to the steel wire inside, it is time for it to be replaced. A corroded anode rod allows the steel in your tank to rust, which leads to a process called galvanic corrosion. This can lead to a broken tank and leaking water.
A faulty anode rod can also cause discolored or rusty water. Other signs that your anode rod needs to be replaced include a rotten egg smell, air in the lines and intermittent hot water.
To replace your anode rod, drain 2 to 3 gallons of water from the tank (connect a hose to the drain “spigot” at the bottom of the tank). If you have a very old anode rod that is nearly rusted away, spray it with a lubricant such as WD-40 and apply a socket wrench to loosen it. Be sure to use a strong and steady force. Do not bang on the anode rod or the tank because both have glass linings and heavy impact can break them. If you cannot get enough leverage to unscrew the anode rod, try using a breaker bar or ask a friend to help you. You should have at least 44 inches of clearance above your water heater to replace the anode rod. If you don’t have the space for a traditional anode rod, consider installing a flexible anode rod that snaps in short segments much like tent poles.
Typically made from plastic materials like cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) the dip tube brings cold water into the tank and helps prevent hot and cold water from mixing at the top of the heater. Most of today’s gas and electric water heaters are equipped with a dip tube. These tubes can deteriorate or break down, especially in some hard water areas. When this happens the hot and cold water mixes inside the tank and in the house resulting in poor water quality, decreased water temperature and/or hot water shortages. If the dip tube breaks down into pieces, the small particles may also clog appliance filter screens and/or faucet aerators.
If you notice signs of a degraded dip tube such as sudden decrease in water temperature or finding small plastic pieces in showerheads and/or appliance strainers it’s time to replace it. This is a relatively simple task for the do-it-yourselfer. The first thing to do is shut off the power (circuit breaker for an electric water heater or gas control dial for a gas heater) and the water supply line to the heater. It’s best to drain the old tube before installing a new one.
A flanged style dip tube can be removed by loosening the pipe nipple that attaches it to the inlet port on the tank. There is also a version that has the inlet port nipple attached to the dip tube itself and this can simply be dropped into the tank fitting and tightened down with a wrench. The dip tube must be cut to length and should extend to the bottom of the tank.
To measure the length of your dip tube simply take a tape measure from the top of the cap on the tank to the point where it touches the metal inlet port at the bottom of the tank. It is important that the dip tube be long enough to keep water from escaping out of the inlet port when the tank is heated, but not so long that the water will be boiling. If you are unsure if the dip tube is properly installed, try this trick: put the suspected sediment particles in a bowl of vinegar. If they float they’re probably plastic, but if they dissolve in the vinegar, it’s likely that the dip tube is pointing the wrong way.
The pressure valve, also known as the T&P valve or simply the relief valve, is designed as a simple, reliable system actuated device to protect against overpressure. It is a disk-type valve with a spring force acting on a smaller piston area at the pilot valve seat and a larger piston area at the main valve seat. When inlet pressure rises to a set point, the pressure-sensing passage A in the main valve (Fig. 2) begins to pressurize, which in turn causes the spool in the pilot valve to begin shifting. As the spool shifts, it creates a controlled opening in the valve disc, which allows system pressure to bypass to tank, while maintaining the system pressure at the valve setting. The relief valve closes when the inlet pressure drops below the set point.
A malfunctioning PRV can cause the water heater to overpressurize within the tank, resulting in major performance issues or even in extreme cases causing the unit to explode. Whether it is due to a worn out piston or the thermostat becoming clogged, this problem can usually be corrected by replacing the valve or by using a professional to flush and clean the whole hot water heater system.
As a general rule, the pressure valve should be set to a maximum of 120 psi for gas units and 80 psi for electric units. Any higher and your water may have an unpleasant odor or look discolored. This is because the minerals and hard water deposits have accumulated inside of the water heater and are corroding it.
If you are experiencing an unusually low volume of hot water, your heater might be undersized for the size of your family or house. In this case, a new unit should be installed by a professional. Also, the venting system should be checked to ensure that there is plenty of clearance and no damage or clogs. Finally, it is possible that your thermostat could be on the wrong setting. In this case, a professional should check the temperature dial to make sure it is in the correct position.