Get a Free Estimate

Water Heater Problems And Solutions

Your water heater may act up from time to time, even if you put time and effort into its maintenance. Here are some commonly-occurring problems and easy solutions to get your heater up and running:

Problem: No hot water from the water heater

Solution for Electric Heaters:
Your fuse might have blown or you may have inadvertently tripped a circuit. If this keeps happening, you should turn your heater down. If this still doesn't work, call in a professional to check out both your heater and your circuitry.

Solution for Gas Heaters:
1. Make sure that your pilot light is on. If it isn't, follow the instructions on your water heater to re-light it. 2. Check your gas connection valve. It should be completely open.

Solutions for both Gas and Electric:
1. Your thermostat could be turned off or just set too low. Make sure your temperature is at 120°F (48.9°C). 2. Your water heater might be gunky. Try draining it. (See Water Heater Maintenance). 3. Increase the efficiency of your water pipes by insulating the hot water pipes.

Problem: Water is too hot
1. Your thermostat is probably set at too high a temperature. Turn it down. If your thermostat is no longer working, you should get it fixed by a professional. 2. The flue in your water heater could be blocked. Check your flue and clear the blockage.

Problem: Water heater makes a rumbling noise
This rumbling noise could be a sign that your water heater is overheating. Turn it off and let it cool down. Make sure that your thermostat is set to 120° F (48.9° C) or lower. If you thermostat isn't working, get a professional to fix it. If you are still having problems, it could be time for a new water heater.

Problem: Water heater leaks
A leaky water heater must be replaced. Turn off the main water supply and the gas or electricity. Get a big bucket or a hose and drain the tank. Don't attempt to install your new water heater unless you are a pretty advanced plumber.

Problem:Pilot light is yellow
You may need to adjust the shutter in your water heater's burner. You should call in a professional.

Problem: Heater smells of gas
You may be thinking that you should relight your pilot light. DO NOT DO THIS. Instead, get everyone out of the house and turn off the main gas supply. Once you are in a safe place, call your utility company.

Tip: For more on safely dealing with gas leaks, please see our section in Household Emergencies.

If you are sure that your gas leak is small, follow these steps to test for a leaky gas supply:

1. Shut off the main gas supply.


2. Open all doors and windows to air the room out.


3. Using a sponge soaked in soapy water, soak the gas line. Turn the gas supply on. If you see any bubbles, then you definitely have a leak. Turn off the main gas supply and call a professional.


Hammer Have a question about your plumbing? Get all the answers you need in our plumbing forum