Running out of hot water is no fun! Sometimes you’re even right in the middle of a shower, and all of a sudden all of the water is cold! Here are some resources, just in case that ever happens to you.
No Hot Water
When there’s no hot water, it means that your hot water heater has stopped functioning entirely. This can happen quickly or it can fade out over time, but no matter how it happens, there are several things that could go wrong.
First, check the voltage coming into your hot water heating system. If there’s no voltage at all, you may have a bad circuit breaker or a bad switch.
Breakers can suffer damage over time, or the breaker that you have for your hot water heater might be too small. If it can’t handle enough amps to keep your water heater running, it will flip and your hot water will disappear. That answer to both of these is simple: replace the breaker with one that works and that can handle the required amperage.
Hot water heaters also fail when there are grounding problems. Something may have accidently grounded or shorted a wired connection in your heater, or your thermostat or heating element could have grounded out. If you can’t find any accidental groundings, you may want to try to get these two parts replaced.
You could also have a problem with the reset button on your hot water heater. If it is tripped, it makes a definite click when you push it. You may have just had a power surge, in which case resetting it will start your heater again. However, continued problems may mean that you have a faulty thermostat. If it seems to reset constantly, try replacing this piece of the system.
Wire shorts and water leaks are also common causes of hot water heater failure. If you can replace the damaged wires or stop the leak, you may be able to repair your system. Otherwise, you may need to purchase a new hot water heater.
Sometimes, your hot water won’t disappear altogether, but you will notice that it doesn’t get as hot as it used it. Often, this means that the lower heating element in your hot water heater isn’t working.
To test this, first turn off all electricity to your heater. Remove all access covers. There are usually two, one for the upper part and one for the lower. Use a voltage meter to be absolutely sure that the power is off.
Check the elements by simply touching the tank near where they are located. For both the upper and lower heating elements, the tank should be hot to the touch, especially right next to the element. If one tank is significantly cooler than the other, then you know which heating element is not working.
If you have a professional plumber in Sarasota working on your hot water heater, they will also test each element with an electric meter. This will determine whether the element has electrical continuity and whether it is drawing the right amperage and voltage.
You may need to replace a heating element even if you only have water temperature problems when the weather is cold. Colder outdoor temperatures mean that the water coming into your home is colder, so your hot water heater has to work harder to keep it at the temperatures you desire. If one element isn’t working well, the heater may not be able to keep up during times when you are using a lot of hot water, simply because of the amount that the temperature has to rise to warm the water.
Tankless Vs. Tank Water Heaters
What most of us think of as a water heater – the large, cylindrical object that you were told not to touch as a child – is a tank water heater. The cylinder is the tank, and it stores and heats water for your home.
Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, do not store water. They are on “on demand” system, only heating water when it is needed. They are much more compact, since they don’t have to store water, and usually take up only a few square feet of space on a wall somewhere.
It can be hard to believe, but tankless water heaters are actually more efficient than traditional water heaters with tanks. They use less energy, because there is less energy lost by storing and reheating the water in the tank. While they are more expensive, most people find that they can easily recoup that extra cost in energy savings.
Tankless water heaters also have long lifespans. While they are a newer technology, many are well made and, when installed and maintained properly, can provide you with hot water for a very long time.
If you need a new water heater, the type you buy is completely up to you. At Wimpy’s Plumbing, we would be happy to come talk to you about what might work best for your home. Call us at (941) 322-1911 or schedule an appointment online, and we will help you make your decision and give you a estimate on your water heater repair or replacement.
Is My Water Heater Going Bad?
Sometimes, water heaters fail quickly. Other times, though, there will be signs that your water heater is about to give out. If you take note of these, you can avoid inconvenient and annoying problems with your hot water.
Your water heater makes noise. If you hear banging noises or even rumbles coming from your water heater, it probably has sediment built up inside. By the time that starts causing noise, your heater is likely damaged.
You see water surrounding your hot water heater. This usually indicates a leak or a crack in the tank. Over time, this leak will expand and your water heater will no longer hold water.
There is rust in your water. This usually means that one of the metal parts in the tank has been exposed to water and is oxidizing. If these parts are getting wet, something is not working right in your heater.
Not sure if your water heater is working properly. We’d be happy to take a look. If you see these signs or symptoms, call Wimpy’s at (941) 322-1911 and we will come out and see what’s going wrong.