Taking a cold shower probably isn’t the ideal way to start your day — especially with cooler weather on the way. While water heaters typically work diligently supplying uninterrupted hot water, problems are inevitable as your water heater ages or simply needs maintenance. If your “hot” water is giving you goose bumps, read on to learn the possible reason why.

Pilot Light or Electronic Ignition

Your water heater is always on — heating stored water to the thermostat setting. When the water temperature falls below the thermostat setting, your pilot light or electronic ignition ignites the burner to heat the water back to the thermostat setting.

If your pilot light is out or the electronic ignition has failed, you’re going to notice a disruption in your hot water.

  • Pilot light: Remove the cover to the burner and visually check to see if the pilot is on. If it isn’t, make sure it’s switched to the “on” position. A dirty burner and/or airflow to the location may also intermittently put out the pilot.
  • Electronic ignition: Hot-surface igniters and other electronic ignition systems generally last up to five years. Call your plumbing professional to service your water heater.

Gas Control Valve

The worse-case scenario for your water heater failing to heat water is a leak in the gas line. In it’s natural state, natural gas is odorless. So, gas companies add sulfur to the gas so that it is detectable by the sniff test. If you smell a foul odor, such as rotten eggs, near your water heater, call your plumbing professional immediately!

Sediment Buildup

Your water heater probably heats dozens of gallons of water a day. Many of the impurities contained in the water supply are extracted by the anode rod. However, sediment, calcium and other contaminants accumulate on the bottom and sides of the water heater’s lining. Over time, the debris buildup decreases heating efficiency.

Your water heater should be drained and scrubbed once a year to flush out sediment and other buildup. Ideally, you want your plumber to perform this, but you can fix it yourself if you’re handy around the home and have a few extra hours.

Defective Dip Tube

The dip tube directs inflowing cool water to the bottom of the tank. Otherwise, fresh water supply would flow into the top of the tank and cool off heated water every time hot water was called at a tap or appliance.

So, a cracked or broken dip tubed is going to allow cool water to mix with already heated water. Your plumbing professional can determine if this is the problem during an inspection.

Failed Heating Element

Electric water heaters use one or two heating elements to heat stored water. Fluctuations in hot water temperature, such as water that just won’t stay warm enough, are indicators of a faulty or failed heating element.

Annual professional water heater maintenance can help prevent these problems, extend the service life of your water heater and keep a tight lid on your hot water bill.

When you need water heater repair, maintenance or installation, call the most trusted plumbers in Minnesota. Contact MN Plumbing & Appliance today!