Hot Water

Hotwater SystemsMost problems with water heaters are announced by noises or by water that’s either too hot or not hot enough. Often you can correct the problem yourself. A possible exception is a water leak, which may require professional service or tank replacement. Gas leaks call for immediate help from the the Newtown local Plumber.

Whenever someone turns on a hot water faucet, heated water is drawn from the top of the tank and is replaced by cold water that is carried to the bottom through the dip tube. When the water temperature drops, a thermostat activates the heat source (a burner in a gas model — two heating elements is an electric.) A gas heater has a flue running up the center and out the top to vent deadly gasses. An electric water heater needs no venting. In both, an anti-corrosion anode attracts corrosion that would otherwise attack the tank’s walls.

Maintenance For Good, Safe Service

• Open the drain valve at the bottom about every 6 months, letting the water run into a bucket until it looks clear. This will prevent sediment accumulation.
• Annually test the temperature-pressure relief pressure buildup by lifting or depressing its handle and draining water from the overflow pipe. If water doesn’t drain out, call in a plumber to inspect.

Water Heater Safety Tip

If steam or boiling water ever comes out of the valve or the hot water faucets, shut the heater off at once. If you ever hear a rumbling sound, assume the heater is overheating and turn it off.

Water Temperature

If temperature is a problem on a gas heater, check that the temperature control is on and is set correctly . If you suspect a faulty control, test it by opening a hot water faucet for 3 minutes. If the heater doesn’t turn on, reset the control to a lower temperature and test again. If it still fails, have it replaced.

Troubleshooting Gas Water Heaters

Knowing how to light the pilot is one key to living with a gas water heater; see the instructions on the tank. For safety, a gas heater has a thermocouple. This is thermoelectric device that impinges on the pilot flame and shuts off the gas if the pilot light goes out. The gas flame should be blue. If it’s orange, adjust the shutter; if it’s still orange, call for service.

Twice a year, inspect the flue assembly to be sure it’s properly aligned and all its joints are sealed. Then check the flue by placing your hand near the draft diverter (with the burner on); air flowing out indicates an obstruction that should be removed. Every year or two, shut off the gas, remove the access panel, and clean the burner ports, using stiff wire or a needle. If you ever smell gas, get out of the house immediately and call the gas company.

*Note premature failure on water heaters (and plumbing fixtures) is most often attributed to excessive water pressure (above 80 p.s.i.). Your plumber can test your water pressure to see if it is within safe limits, and make suggestions to reduce pressure if necessary.



There is no hot water?Check for:
• Unlit pilot light.
• Pilot light won’t keep burning.
• Clogged burner
• Defective thermocouple.
• The gas is not coming out.
Remedies:• Carefully relight the pilot.
• Make sure the gas controls are   completely turned on.
• Call a qualified plumbing contractor.
• Replace the thermocouple.
• Inspect or test gas control valve
There isn’t enough hot water?• Incorrectly set thermostat.
• Defective thermostat.
• Too small of a water tank
• Clogged burner.
• Sediment has formed in the tank.
• Leaking hot water faucets.
Remedies:• Turn the thermostat higher.
• Call a qualified plumbing contractor.
• Install a larger water tank.
• Turn off the gas and drain the tank.
• Repair or replace the faucets.