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Unlike tankless water heaters, standard tank-type hot water system uses an insulated storage tank. Hot water systems are generally very reliable but occasionally they do have some problems. These problems can include:

  • No hot water
  • Insufficient hot water
  • Rust colored water
  • Rotten egg odor
  • Low rumbling or popping noise
  • Higher pitched whining
  • Water leaking around base of the hot water system

Before any troubleshooting is done, make sure to prepare safely for the job by doing the following:

  • Turn off power to your electric hot water system. Do this by turning off the circuit breaker or fuse powering the hot water system.
  • Turn the gas pilot control valve to “pilot” setting.
  • Shut off the water supply to the hot water system.

Let’s look at each problem and what possible causes and repairs exist.

Your Hot Water System has No Hot Water Flow

Possible Causes

  • Faulty gas pilot light
  • Faulty gas thermocouple
  • Faulty gas pilot control valve

Possible Repairs

  • Check that the gas pilot flame and pilot is operational.
  • Re-tighten, reposition or replace the gas thermocouple.
  • Replace the gas pilot control valve.

Your Hot Water System has Insufficient Hot Water

Possible Causes

  • Hot water system is undersized for water heating demands
  • Broken or damaged dip tube allowing cold and hot water to mix in the tank.
  • Faulty plumbing installation has crossed cold and hot water connections
  • Gas supply or control problems

Possible Repairs

  • Make sure the hot water system is not being overtaxed by hot water supply demands. The hot water system should have 75% of its capacity as hot water (e.g., a 40-gallon WH should be used for a demand of 30 gallons).
  • Undo the cold-water inlet and pipe nipple and remove dip tube. Check the condition and replace if required.
  • Check for crossed connection by turning off the water supply to the hot water system. Open a hot water faucet. If there is water flow, then there is a crossed connection somewhere. Check for a hot water line connected to a cold-water connection on the hot water system or appliances such as washer, dishwasher, faucet or shower valves.
  • Check for a proper flame from the burner. A natural gas flame should be bright blue with the tip of the flame having just a tinge of yellow. A propane flame should have a bluish green flame with a tinge of yellow at the tip.

Your Hot Water System Has Rust Colored Water

Possible Causes

  • Corrosion occurring inside glass lined tank
  • Sacrificial anode rod is failing (anode rods dissolve slowly to prevent rusting in the tank)

Possible Repairs

  • Replace the sacrificial anode rod with magnesium anode rod. Anode rods are available from a plumbing supply house.

Your Hot Water System has a Rotten Egg Smell

Possible Causes

  • Bacteria in the tank sediment fed from hydrogen gas created from decay of sacrificial anode.

Possible Repairs

  • Flush the hot water system using a hydrogen peroxide solution of 2 pints 3% peroxide to 40 gallons of water, treat tank and run some of the solution into water lines.
  • Let peroxide solution set in the tank and pipes for 2 hours. The Solution is not toxic and requires no rinsing.
  • If the problem persists, replace the anode with a zinc-alloy anode.
  • If the problem remains, replace the hot water system with a plastic lined tank type.

Your Hot Water System has a Low Rumbling or Popping Noise

Possible Causes

  • Noise heard is the sound of boiling water. Excessive buildup of sediment in bottom of the tank is causing overheating of the tank bottom and boiling of water to occur.

Possible Repairs

Remove sediment by flushing the hot water system

Water Leak Around Base of Heater

Possible Causes

  • A faulty T&P (temperature and pressure) relief valve
  • The T&P valve leaks due to excessive pressure, overheating or is stuck
  • A leak from overhead or nearby plumbing connection
  • A leaking water tank (corrosion likely)

Possible Repairs

  • Place the bucket under overflow pipe. Open and flush T&P valve clear of debris. If the leak remains from the valve, replace the valve.
  • Reduce the thermostat setting to prevent tank overheating and opening T&P relief valve.
  • Inspect bottom of the tank by looking through the combustion chamber. If water marks or heavy rusting is noticed or if water is noticed setting in the combustion chamber bottom, then the water heater needs to be replaced.

Get in touch with a professional plumbing business such as  Clearwater Plumbing and Maintenance for all your hot water system repairs

If you are having further issues, get in touch with a great gas plumber from Clearwater Plumbing and Maintenance. If you have an issue with a blocked drain or hot water, we are here to service you. It’s important that you have a drain camera, leaking tap, local plumber, roof plumber you can trust.

We service many areas including Plumber Armstrong Creek, Plumber Barwon Heads, Plumber Batesford, Plumber Bell Park, Plumber Bell Post Hill, Plumber Belmont, Plumber Breakwater, Plumber Geelong City, Plumber Geelong West, Plumber Geelong East, Plumber Grovedale, Plumber Hamlyn Heights, Plumber Herne Hill, Plumber Highton, Plumber Inverleigh, Plumber Leopold, Plumber Lovely Banks, Plumber Manifold Heights, Plumber Marshall, Plumber Moolap, Plumber Moorabool, Plumber Mount Duneed, Plumber Newcomb, Plumber Newtown, Plumber Norlane, Plumber North Geelong, Plumber North Shore, Plumber Ocean Grove, Plumber Rippleside, Plumber South Geelong, Plumber St Albans Park, Plumber Thomson, Plumber Torquay, Plumber Waurn Ponds, Plumber Whittington