Can the water heater be repaired?

water heater in a bathroom

What would cause a hot water heater to stop working?

What good is a water heater that isn’t heating water? Or worse, one that is leaking all over the garage floor! If this happens to you, this doesn’t necessarily mean you need a new water heater. A water heater repair is possible, depending on the age and model of the heater and the problem. If you have a choice between water heater repair or replacement, the first option is probably going to be the least expensive.  

There are a few things that can cause your water heater to quit, some of them a homeowner can fix, and others may need a professional water heater repair service: 

  • Power isn’t getting to the water heater
  • Thermostat went out
  • The upper heating element has burned out

The first thing you want to do is check the circuit breaker. It may need to be reset or blown a fuse replaced. If it trips the breaker again or blows a fuse, you’ll need to call a professional electrician.

The next thing to check is the thermostat. If it is getting power but not cutting on to heat the water, replace it, or have a water heater repair service call to replace it. 

The last check is the heating element. If the water heater is getting power (first step) and the water isn’t getting hot, replace the element. Some water heaters, this step is easy. If you’re not comfortable with doing this, call a professional water heater repair service.

Do you call a plumber to fix a hot water heater?

Well, it can depend on the problem you’re having with your water heater as we described one issue above, the circuit breaker or fuse box that would need an electrician.  What about other issues though, do you call an electrician or a plumber, or maybe an HVAC tech.

The first call for water heater repair should be to a professional plumber. From there, they will determine if there is additional professional service needed. Some electrical and HVAC issue a plumber can handle, some issues require certification and licensing. 

A few specific issues when to call a plumber would be:

  • Strange squealing, whistling noises coming from the water heater
  • Rusty water 
  • Low pressure for the hot water
  • No hot water 
  • Leaking water from water heater
  • Gas pilot light keeps blowing out

A few example problems that require a professional electrician:

  • Circuit breaker trips 
  • Fuse keeps blowing or fuse box overheats
  • Loose wiring 

What causes the reset button to trip on a water heater?

The reset switch is for your safety, although it can be aggravating. It usually trips because something isn’t working right with the water heater, and the water is getting too hot for user safety. Why is the water getting too hot is more the issue with the reset button. Here are a few issues of reset buttons: 

A water heater’s working is basic. The water in the tank is pressurized and fills and heats from the bottom. There are an upper heating element and thermostat and a lower heating element and thermostat. If the element or thermostat goes out on either one, it will flip the reset button. 

In addition to the elements or thermostat that trip the reset button, the following are issues that may flip the reset button, or you may need a water heater repair:

  • A bad high-limit switch is bad.
  • Loose wiring in either of the heating elements.
  • One of the heating elements has short. 
  • It could be how the water is wired, meaning the wiring in your house may be causing the reset button to flip.

What are the signs you need a new water heater?

Here are some indicating signs that water heater repair isn’t going to enough:

Water Heater Is Outdated

Find the serial number tag on your current water heater. With most manufacturers, the first two numbers on the serial number are the year the unit was manufactured. Or visit the manufacturer’s website or help in determining the age. If the unit is ten years old – time for a new, more efficient model. 

Water is Rusty 

If the hot water is coming out rusty, that indicates the inside of the tank is rusted.  If you don’t replace the unit soon, it will eventually spring a leak, not to mention, you’re bathing, cooking, and drinking that rusty water. 

Leaking Water Heater

The metal expands as it heats up, and if there is a slight fracture in the water heater tank, it can start leaking. A small leak will eventually become a bigger problem as it begins to damage the basement, garage, or utility closet where the water heater is installed. Before you decide to buy a new heater, you may be able to do water heater repair leak by checking all the fittings and make sure they are tight or need replacement. 

installation of water heater in basement

How do you know if your water heater is going to explode?

Exploding water heaters are rare, but when it happens, it is devastating and can be deadly. If you have any of the following, do not call for water heater repair, but water heater replacement: 

  • Leaking PRV: A leaking pressure relief valve is designed to let off extremely high pressure from the tank. If it is leaking, it could explode.
  • Rotten Egg or Sulfur Odor: If you are smelling rotten eggs or sulfur from your gas water heater, you have a gas leak. Leave the house immediately and call the gas company. 
  • Knocking and Popping Sounds: If your water heater is knocking and popping, it is either going to quit or explode. 
  • Faulty Install: A water heater that isn’t installed correctly can leak, corrode faster, and short out, all before it explodes.

If your water heater isn’t providing enough hot water or doesn’t stay hot for a good shower, call a plumber that offers water heater repair service. It may be repairable; you may need to replace it. But a professional plumber can tell you, either way, do an internet search for “water heater repair in my area” and get quotes for service calls. Call (310) 454-2010 today for your water heater repair.