If there’s any home comfort appliance that doesn’t get enough credit for how much it does for your household, it’s probably your water heater.
These systems are built durably, going under a lot of stress throughout the year—some of them never even turn off for that long, staying on to maintain a steady, standing supply of hot water at all times. However, even the sturdiest system will eventually need repair and even replacement.
There will be times when a water heater malfunctions, and it’s important that you understand when it’s time to call a pro. One of the main signs of a water heater that’s struggling is that you notice a drop in hot water output. If you discover this, it’s time to give us a call. This can happen for a number of reasons, which we’ve covered below:
The Burner Assembly Is Clogged Up
If you are using a gas-powered water heater, then that system uses a component called a burner assembly. This is made up of a series of jets near the bottom of the tank (or the heat exchanger). These jets combust the natural gas that reaches the heat exchanger to create heat.
Over time, carbon particles can form and build up on the jets within the assembly. These carbon deposits can eventually become big enough to clog up the burner assembly, preventing it from firing and heating the system. Professional cleaning can resolve this.
Does your home suffer from hard water? This isn’t as dangerous as it sounds! But, it’s bad for your plumbing system and appliances. Hard water is water with a high presence of minerals in it—namely calcium, magnesium, and sometimes iron. They create a sediment that can build up either on the bottom of your water heater’s storage tank or in the heat exchanger.
Sediment can impact tankless water heaters too! What happens is that it insulates the pipes and heat exchangers, and it can prevent the water heater from heating the water in your home to the right temperature. During professional maintenance though, our technicians will flush your water heater if it’s a tank system, and/or do a thorough cleaning if it’s a tankless system.
Another possibility is that the actual heating part of your water heater works just fine, but you have an electrical problem going on that’s preventing the water heater from providing hot water. Check out the thermostat to ensure that it’s set properly, first.
Even if your water heater thermostat is displaying the right temperature, there is a chance that it’s still not working properly. The only way to know for sure and get the problem fixed is to contact the pros.
You Have a Cracked or Broken Dip Tube
The dip tube is a plastic tube that runs from the bottom of the water heater’s storage tank to the top, where it connects to the water line. All water that enters the storage tank travels through the dip tube, and comes out near the bottom.
This does two things—it prevents the cold, freshwater from mixing with the hot water at the top of the tank and it ensures that the cold water will heat up faster by being let out at the bottom of the tank, by the burner assembly. If you have a cracked or broken dip tube, it can cause cold water to leak into the hot water, resulting in sudden blasts of cold water when you’re using a faucet or you’re in the shower.