Common Water Heating Problems and Their Solutions

 One of the most important appliances in the home, a water heater is often out of sight and easy to forget. The average water heater accounts for nearly 17 percent of the average home’s energy bill, so keeping your water heater maintained is essential. Here are a few common water heating problems and possible solutions.

Water not heating


Image via Flickr by Jason Woodhead

Water that is not heating is a typical problem. Depending on your type of water heater, gas or electric. the problem can be checked fairly quickly. For a gas heater, check to make sure the pilot light is on. If it is out, carefully light it being certain no children are around. For an electric heater, check if the circuit breaker has tripped. Checking the breaker box will often find the remedy.

Little water heating

When the hot water seems to run out quickly, you are likely having issues with the thermostat. On both a gas and electric model, check the thermostat settings. You will want to be sure it is set at or below 120 F (48.9 C) to help prevent injuries. If the thermostat is not an issue, your tank might be too small for your household size and needs. An upgrade might be needed.

Hot water leaking

For gas and electric tanks, a common problem is water leaking. After checking to make sure there is no corrosion or rust at the base, check the cold water inlet valves and hot water outlet pipes to verify the connections are not loose. Also, check the pressure relief valves as this can often be a cause of leaks. If the leak is due to condensation, raising the thermostat a bit will solve the issue.

Colored Water

Dirty, brownish, rusty colored hot water signals internal corrosion. This internal rusting is usually due to the anode rod or the tank’s inside. The anode rod can be replaced, but this issue indicates a faulty tank showing signs of corrosion and you will have to replace it in the future.

Smelly Water

A sulfuric odor or that of rotten eggs coming from your hot water is due to bacteria build-up and can often be remedied by turning up the thermostat to about 140 F. If the problem persists, the odor is due to a faulty anode rod that needs to be replaced. Again, this is indicative of a deeper issue with the tank itself which is corroding.


If you do decide to purchase a new water heating system, upgrading to a tankless water heater can have many benefits. It is more energy efficient with a longer lifespan than tank heaters. Tanks work non-stop to keep the water hot, However, tankless heaters only heat water as it passes through the fast-acting coils and work only when hot water is needed. You will not have to wait for more water to heat up. There is also a space-saving bonus of not needing a large tank taking up space in your household.

Water heaters provide hot water to your household and family when needed for health and comfort. With several options available, you must decide what is right for your family and when maintenance is needed, providing the best solution to your heater will ultimately prolong the life of your system.

About Lisa

Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm Lisa - a homeschool mom of 3 (2 boys and 1 girl). I care about the strength of the family in America, and often blog about babies/kids, natural parenting, homeschool, and marriage. Before you leave, please sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the top right). If you do, you will be well rewarded with notification of all giveaways and sales - which will not be announced on the blog. Google+ Profile

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