When should I replace my water heater?
December 30, 2014

Is your water heater not giving you hot water at any of your faucets or your shower? 

We’re sure you’re concerned. But, don’t worry, you may be able to solve this problem on your own before calling a professional for help.

Try the following troubleshooting tasks any homeowner can do.

We’ve divided the instructions based on which type of water heater you may have:

  • Gas
  • Electric

Troubleshooting a gas water heater

Check the gas supply

Someone may have accidentally shut off the gas supply to the water heater, which is why the water heater isn’t heating the water.

Look on your water heater for the gas line (may be a yellow tube). Follow the gas line until you find a shut-off valve.

If the shut-off valve lever is in line with the gas line, then it’s in the “ON” position, meaning gas is flowing to the water heater, and your problem may lie elsewhere.

But if the lever is turned 90 degrees to the gas line, then it’s in the “OFF” position, meaning no gas is going to the water heater.

If the lever is set to “OFF” turn it to the “ON” position.

Check the pilot light

The pilot light ignites your water heater’s burner to heat the water.

So if the pilot light goes out, there’s nothing to ignite the burner and heat the water.

You’ll need to remove the cover of your water heater to inspect and relight pilot light.

To relight the pilot light, check the side of the water heater for instructions. It may be as easy as rotating the control knob to “PILOT” and then “ON.”

Note: You’ll need to wait about 30 minutes to let the burners heat the water.

If the pilot light keeps going out, contact a professional for help.

Troubleshooting an electric water heater

Check the circuit breaker

Go to the electric panel box to see if the water heater’s circuit breaker has tripped. If it’s tripped, then there’s no power going to the electric water heater.

To reset the circuit, push the breaker to the “off” position and then to the “on” position. Now your water heater should have power and should start heating the water.

If the circuit breaker trips again, you may have another issue that requires a professional.

Reset the control unit

If the circuit breaker wasn’t tripped, look on the water heater’s temperature control panel for a “RESET” button. If it’s popped out, press it back in. Your water heater should start working again.

If the button keeps popping out, you need to contact a professional for help.

Still need help?

If the above troubleshooting didn’t help, you may have another issue, including:

  1. Burned out heating element (if you have an electric water heater)
  2. Broken dip tube (meaning cold water is shooting into the top of the water heater and therefore isn’t being heated by the heating element.)

These require a professional’s touch.

Pippin Brothers Home Services happily services the Greater Lawton, Fort Sill, and Duncan, Oklahoma area. If your house is uncomfortable; wasting energy; has plumbing problems or if you want to avoid breakdowns or verify everything in your home is working as it should, give us call at 580-699-5662. We've already helped many of your neighbors, and would be honored to help you.

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