Water heater maintenance is often times overlooked by the average homeowner, and yet the proper and ongoing function of the water heater is critical to a family's comfort, cleanliness, and even safety. The national organization of Plumber's Success International recommends annual inspections and maintenance of your water heater, and replacing the water heater anode rod at least every three years. The ideal way to inspect a hot water heater and to check for rusting and corrosion of the combustion chamber and the heat exchanger is to use an infrared inspection camera. The infrared image as seen on the camera monitor allows a view of the corrosion within the water heater to be seen more clearly than is possible with the human eye. For that reason, it is not recommended that a simple, non-professional, visual inspection or inspections with a flash light and mirror be used.
Reliable Water Heater Maintenance in Denver, CO
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Common Water Heater Problems
Water heaters don't last for ever, nor are they intended to. Many times water heater replacement is the wisest choice in the long run. Reviewing the water heater problems covered below and determining which problem(s) you're specifically having will help determine if a tune-up and standard maintenance is all that is needed.
Odor In Hot Water
This is a problem found mostly in water systems using a private well. The cause is the presence of a bacteria in some wells, that interacts with the magnesium anode rod in the water heater increasing the hydrogen, and interacting with any sulfur present in the water to produce a rotten egg like smell. This bacteria is otherwise harmless to humans, but the odor produced can be quite annoying.
Replacing the magnesium anode rod with an aluminum anode often times reduces or even eliminates the problem, and is a cost effective first step. In cases where this does not resolve the rotten egg smell, the source of the problem (the bacteria in the water) will need to be addressed. Chlorination of the water kills the bacteria, that is why pubic water supplies which are already chlorinated, will not experience this odor problem.
Therefor, a more costly, but effective solution to the odor problem would be to have a chlorine injector or ultraviolet light system installed. This will eliminate the bacteria.
Noisy Water Heater
- Can be from sediment build up (see below)
- Sound of water dripping and sizzling? Condensation Drip. Sometimes (especially when the inlet water temperature is low) you can get condensation forming from the combustion gases condensing on the cooler surfaces of the combustion chamber and heat exchanger. This condensation can run down the heat exchanger and drip onto the burner plate causing a dripping noise or even a sizzling sound. This condition is natural, but can be mistaken for a leaking tank.
- Baffle noise. The baffle spirals down into the water heater heat exchanger and is suspended from the top of the water heater. It is possible for the baffle to twist as it heats up and cools down, causing a taping like sound within the heat exchanger. This can occur in older water heaters as the baffle distorts and parts of it break off and lodge within the heat exchanger. On older water heaters, replacement is the most practical solution to this problem.
Insufficient Hot Water
Finding the cause and consequent solution to this problem can in some cases be a real quest. Unfortunately there are many problems that will produce this symptom, and to make matters worse, sometimes the symptoms are a result of a combination of multiple causes. Sometimes it is a matter of eliminating possible causes. Process of elimination can be used to go through the most prevalent causes and find the most likely problem starter.
Shortages of hot water can basically be broken down into two categories, usage and supply. Supply can be further broken down into two categories, storage and capacity. The storage capacity of a water heater is the gallon capacity of hot water at the ready. The recovery capacity is how quickly a water heater can replace hot water that is being used.
Sediment Build Up in Water Heater
Heating water causes minerals to drop out and settle at the bottom of the water heater tank. In many cases, this process can cause a substantial amount of sediment to build up. A common complication of this sediment build up is that the water that seeps through it becomes insulated from the rest of the tank. When the burner fires up, it can cause this insulated later of water to boil and create steam and banging, rumbling or popping noises. Sediment build up can become substantial and will displace stored water capacity, thereby reducing available hot water.
Tank flushing by simply running off some water from the drain valve will usually only remove a small amount of sediment close to the valve. If sediment is a problem, a full tank flush may be required or even a complete replacement of the tank.
Pilot Light Goes Out
The problem can be a dirty or defective pilot burner, or even a weak thermocouple. We will be able to determine which, and provide the problem solution, during our routine water heater maintenance service!
Water Temperature too hot or too cold
Sometimes a simple adjustment of the water heater control (thermostat) can correct this problem. Remember scalding is a real danger. It is not recommended to set the thermostat any higher than will produce 120 degree Fahrenheit temperatures. Any fix other than adjusting the thermostat settings should be handled by a professional- give us a call today!
Water Heater Brands We Offer Maintenance Service For
- A.O. Smith
- Bradford White
- American Water Heaters
- Marathon Electric
- State Water Heaters
- Stiebel Eltron
- Reliable Water Heaters
- U.S. Craftmaster