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Some Frequently Asked Water Heater Repair Questions

Updated on July 23, 2011

Do you have a question about your home’s water heater? The following answers to frequently asked questions can help you know when to call a water heater repair technician and when you can fix the problem yourself.

Question: My water heater is not heating the water up suddenly. I want to check some things out first, but how do I turn stuff off to make sure it’s safe to touch the water heater? – Nate, Gilbert, Arizona

Answer: Be careful before you proceed with any type of do it yourself water heater diagnosing or repair, since water heaters and gas lines can explode. There are accidental deaths every year due to people trying to fix things that should be left to a technician. If you do know what you’re doing, and you have a gas water heater, you should turn off the gas valve. If you have an electric heater, you’ll need to locate the fuse box and turn off the power supply to the water heater. Don’t attempt any sort of do it yourself repair on a water heater if you aren’t trained to do this. For any type of repair, you should call in a Phoenix water heater repair technician.

Question: My water heater runs out of water really quick when I’m in the shower. It’s like I just have a chance to get wet, and suddenly the water chills out. At first, the shower blasts me with a nice dose of hot water but it’s gone before I’ve soaped up. My roommate showers in the evening, so I know it isn’t his fault. What’s up? If the water heater was totally broken, we’d never have hot water, right? – Jason, Los Angeles, California

Answer: If you have an electric water heater, and the water is running out on you that quickly, it’s likely that your bottom heating element has gone out on the water heater. This is a common problem, but you’ll have to call California Water Heater repair technician to take care of it. The top heating element is heating up the water in the upper portion of the water tank, and keeping it hot. But it sounds like the lower portion of the water in your water heater’s tank isn’t staying hot (the water you get later on in your shower). Another possible explanation for your water running out so quickly is that you have a bad dip tube. Either one of these repairs is extensive enough that you’ll need to call in a plumber or water heater repair technician.

Question: My new water heater makes funny hissing and popping noises all day. Is this normal? – Thelma, Austin, Texas

Answer: No, this isn’t usually one of the “normal” water heater sounds out there, and it is something you should investigate. Although some of us can get used to noisy water heaters, noisy water heaters can be a bad sign of something worse. Some types of normal water heater sounds include a whooshing sound as the gas (to a gas heater) flows into the pipes, and sometimes a popping sound as the metal material of the water heater tank expands when the water is hot, and contracts when the water is cold. If your water heater is new, then you should call the manufacturer. If you don’t report this soon, the warranty may lose its effect. Water heaters might make the following noises: whining, high-pitched screeching, or popping noises. If the manufacturer doesn’t cover this issue in the warranty, of if it’s past the warranty time period, you should consult with a company who repairs Texas water heaters.

Question: What is the water heater relief valve, and is it safe for me to replace it myself?

Answer: The relief valve is located on the exterior of the water heater, and some people somehow think this means they can tinker around with it and fix it themselves. The relief valve lets out excess pressure if the pressure inside the tank gets too high. So, when your water heater overheats or the water gets too hot, this valve is designed to prevent the entire water heater from exploding. If your relief valve is defective, it can cause explosion, damage to your property, and death. Despite the seemingly easy to access location of the relief valve, this is not something you should begin a career as a do it yourself repair technician on. A Texas water heater repair technician can take care of a defective relief valve in a short time, and you will be safe the whole time.

Question: I have an annoying water heater! Every few days the pilot light will go out and we’ll wake up to no hot water in the house. The only thing we need to do to get hot water again is relight the light, and then we’ll have hot water soon. However, this problem happens so often lately I’m wondering what else could be going on. Either we have a ghost blowing out our light every few days or there’s something else going on. – Jessie, Hayward, California

Answer: It sounds like you might just have a bad thermocouple. It’s a good sign that the water heater seems to work fine other than this wimpy pilot light. This isn’t the type of project anyone but a trained heating and air conditioning technician should work on. Working on a pilot light is dangerous and it can cause explosions, so call a California water heater repair technician and have them fix the problem as soon as possible.

Question: We have a big family, and everyone showers at the same time. Should I turn up my water heater so that we have more hot water in the morning for everyone? – Jane, Chicago, Illinois

Answer: As long as you keep your water heater temperature under 160 degrees, you can turn it up a notch or two. If you have small children, there is an increased risk of burning and scalding if your water heater is set to high temperatures, so make sure everyone knows the importance of being careful with your Chicago water heater.

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