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Water Heater Keeps Going Out? Let’s Fix it Together!

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  • Post last modified:August 26, 2023

If you’re experiencing a water heater that keeps going out, you’re not alone. This issue can be frustrating and inconvenient, but there are steps you can take to troubleshoot and fix the problem. In this section, I’ll share some tips on how to diagnose and resolve common issues with your water heater to get it working again.

Before we get started, it’s essential to note that a malfunctioning water heater can be dangerous, so it’s crucial to take proper precautions when working on it. If you’re unsure about any step in the process, it’s best to call a professional for assistance.

Key Takeaways:

  • A water heater that repeatedly goes out can be a frustrating problem.
  • Troubleshooting the issue involves identifying common problems and addressing them accordingly.
  • If you’re unsure about any step in the process, call a professional for assistance.

Understanding Common Water Heater Problems

If your water heater keeps going out, it’s likely due to a problem that needs to be addressed. Some of the most common issues that can cause a water heater to malfunction include:

Problem Symptoms
Faulty thermostat Water is either too hot or not hot enough
Sediment buildup Strange noises coming from the tank
Leaking tank Water pooling around the base of the tank
Gas valve problems Pilot light keeps going out or burner won’t stay lit
Heating element failure Water is not heating up at all

It’s important to identify the specific problem with your water heater before attempting any repairs. This will ensure that you don’t waste time and money on unnecessary fixes.

Understanding Common Water Heater Problems

To help you identify the cause of your water heater issues, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common problems:

  1. Faulty thermostat: The thermostat controls the temperature of the water in the tank. If it’s not working properly, you might notice that the water is either too hot or not hot enough. This can be caused by a malfunctioning thermostat or a loose wire connection.
  2. Sediment buildup: Over time, sediment can accumulate in the bottom of the tank, causing it to make strange noises. This can also affect the efficiency of the water heater by reducing the amount of hot water it can produce.
  3. Leaking tank: A leaking tank is a serious issue that requires immediate attention. If you notice water pooling around the base of your water heater, it could be due to a cracked or corroded tank.
  4. Gas valve problems: If you have a gas-powered water heater, problems with the gas valve can cause the pilot light to keep going out or the burner to not stay lit. This could be due to a faulty thermocouple or a blockage in the gas line.
  5. Heating element failure: If the water is not heating up at all, it could be due to a failed heating element. This is more common in electric water heaters, but can also occur in gas-powered models.

By understanding these common water heater problems, you can better diagnose the issue and determine the appropriate course of action. In the next section, we’ll guide you through the troubleshooting process to help you identify the specific problem with your water heater.

common water heater problems

Troubleshooting Your Water Heater

When your water heater keeps going out, it’s important to troubleshoot the issue to identify the root cause. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Check the power supply: Make sure your water heater is receiving power and check the circuit breaker to see if it has tripped.
  2. Inspect the pilot light: If you have a gas water heater, the pilot light needs to be lit. Make sure it’s on and relight it if necessary.
  3. Examine the gas valve: If the gas valve is faulty, your water heater won’t function properly. Check to ensure it’s in the “on” position.
  4. Drain the tank: Sediment buildup can cause your water heater to malfunction. Drain the tank to remove any sediment and improve its efficiency.

If you’re unsure about any of these steps or need further assistance, consult your water heater manual or reach out to a professional for help.

Remember that regular maintenance can help prevent water heater problems from occurring in the first place. Stay tuned for our upcoming section on performing basic water heater maintenance.

Water Heater Troubleshooting Tips

Performing Basic Water Heater Maintenance

If you want your water heater to function properly and avoid the hassle of it repeatedly going out, regular maintenance is crucial. Here are some essential maintenance tips to keep your water heater in top shape:

Task Frequency
Inspect the anode rod for corrosion Annually
Flush the tank to remove sediment buildup Annually
Check the T&P valve for proper function Annually
Inspect the heating elements for wear and tear Every three to five years

When inspecting the anode rod, if you notice it is heavily corroded, it’s time to replace it. Flushing the tank can be done by connecting a hose to the drain valve and letting the water run until it appears clear. The T&P (temperature and pressure) valve is designed to relieve excess pressure build-up inside the tank. To test it, lift the valve’s lever until the water drains out, and then release it. If the water stops flowing, it’s working correctly. If the heating elements show signs of wear and tear, it’s best to replace them before they fail and cause further complications.

You can also insulate your water heater with a blanket to help reduce heat loss and save energy. When performing any maintenance task, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and turn off power to the unit first.

water heater maintenance

Fixing Common Water Heater Problems Yourself

If you’re experiencing issues with your water heater, there are some simple fixes you can do yourself. By tackling these problems early, you can avoid costly repairs down the line and extend the life of your water heater.

Replacing a Faulty Heating Element

If your water heater isn’t producing enough hot water, the heating element may be to blame. Before replacing the element, make sure to turn off the power and water supply to the unit. Then, drain the tank and remove the old element.

Install the new element, making sure to tighten it securely. Refill the tank with water and turn the power back on. Check to make sure the water is heating properly.

Fixing a Malfunctioning Thermostat

If your water isn’t heating up at all, a faulty thermostat may be the cause. Start by turning off the power to the unit. Open the access panel and remove the thermostat cover.

Use a voltage tester to confirm that the power is off, then disconnect the wires from the thermostat and remove it from the tank. Install the new thermostat, reconnect the wires, and replace the cover. Turn the power back on and check to see if the water is heating properly.

Addressing a Leaking Tank

A leaking tank is a serious issue that can cause water damage and even present a safety hazard. If you notice water pooling around your water heater, immediately turn off the power and water supply to the unit.

Check the pressure relief valve to ensure it’s closed and not leaking. If the valve appears to be functioning properly, the leak may be coming from the tank itself. In this case, it’s best to call in a professional to repair or replace the unit.

fix water heater

By following these basic tips, you can often fix common water heater problems yourself. However, if you’re not comfortable making repairs or the issue persists, it’s best to call in a professional for water heater repairs.

Calling in Professional Help

If you’re not comfortable performing repairs on your water heater, or if DIY fixes don’t resolve the issue, it’s time to call in a professional. Water heater repairs can be complex and dangerous, and attempting to fix them without the proper training and tools can lead to further damage or injuries.

When choosing a water heater repair service, look for a licensed and insured company with a track record of success. You can search online for reviews and testimonials from previous customers, and ask friends or family members for recommendations. Make sure to get a written estimate before committing to any work, and ask about warranties or guarantees for the repairs.

water heater repairs

Professional help may also be necessary if your water heater is old and beyond repair. In this case, it may be more cost-effective to replace the unit altogether. A professional plumber can help you determine the best course of action based on your specific needs and budget.

Upgrading to a New Water Heater

If your water heater problems persist despite troubleshooting and repairs, it may be time for an upgrade. When considering a new water heater, there are several factors to take into account:

Factor Consideration
Type There are different types of water heaters, including tankless, hybrid, and conventional models. Each type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so you’ll need to select the one that best fits your needs and budget.
Size The size of your water heater will depend on the number of people in your household and your typical hot water usage. A larger tank may be necessary for families with high demand, while smaller tanks may be sufficient for individuals or couples.
Energy efficiency Choosing an energy-efficient water heater can help reduce your utility bills and minimize your carbon footprint. Look for models with high Energy Star ratings and features like improved insulation, heat pumps, or solar panels.

Upgrading to a new water heater can offer several benefits, such as:

  • Improved energy efficiency and cost savings
  • Increased hot water capacity and faster heating times
  • Reduced risk of leaks, breakdowns, and other issues
  • Opportunity to take advantage of new technologies and features

Before making a decision, it’s essential to consult with a licensed professional to determine the best option for your specific situation. They can help you evaluate your needs, compare different products, and install your new water heater safely and efficiently.

water heater keeps going out

Tips to Prevent Water Heater Issues in the Future

Regular maintenance can go a long way in avoiding recurring water heater problems. Here are some essential tips to help you maintain your water heater:

  • Flush the tank: Sediment buildup can cause clogs and damage the heating elements. Drain and flush your water heater tank at least once a year to remove sediment and debris.
  • Inspect the anode rod: The anode rod attracts corrosive elements in the water to protect the tank’s lining from rusting. Check the rod every two years and replace it if it’s significantly corroded.
  • Adjust the thermostat: Set the thermostat to a temperature between 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent overheating and reduce energy consumption.
  • Check the pressure relief valve: The pressure relief valve releases excess pressure to prevent tank damage. Test it every six months and replace it if it’s faulty.
  • Inspect the heating elements: Electric water heaters have heating elements that can burn out or get covered with sediment. Check the elements every few years and replace them if necessary.
Turn off the power: Before performing any maintenance on your water heater, turn off the power supply to avoid electrical shocks or burns. Don’t ignore leaks: Leaks can indicate a serious problem with your water heater. Address leaks immediately to prevent water damage, mold growth, or other hazards.

Following these simple tips can help you maintain your water heater’s efficiency and prolong its lifespan. Remember that investing time in preventative maintenance can save you money and inconvenience from future repairs.

water heater maintenance

Common Myths and Misconceptions about Water Heaters

Water heaters are an essential appliance in many households, and there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding them. In this section, I will debunk some of the most common water heater myths to help you make informed decisions about your appliance.

Myth 1: Turning up the thermostat will heat water faster

This is a common misconception that can actually be dangerous. Turning up the thermostat can cause the water temperature to reach scalding levels, which can lead to burns. It also won’t heat the water any faster, as the heating element will still need the same amount of time to warm up the water.

Myth 2: Water heaters don’t need maintenance

While it’s true that water heaters are durable appliances, they do require regular maintenance to perform efficiently and avoid breakdowns. Neglecting maintenance can lead to sediment buildup, rust, and corrosion that can shorten the lifespan of your water heater.

Myth 3: All water heaters are the same

There are different types of water heaters available, including tankless, electric, and gas water heaters. Each type has its own pros and cons, and choosing the right one for your household depends on your specific needs and budget.

Myth 4: Water heaters don’t need insulation

Insulating your water heater can significantly reduce heat loss and improve energy efficiency, which can ultimately save you money on your utility bills. However, not all water heaters require insulation, so it’s essential to check your manufacturer’s instructions.

Myth 5: Water heaters last forever

While water heaters are designed to last for several years, they will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Neglecting regular maintenance can shorten their lifespan, and other factors like high water pressure or hard water can also contribute to their breakdown.

water heater myths

By understanding these common myths and misconceptions about water heaters, you can make informed decisions about your appliance and ensure that it’s operating efficiently.


Dealing with a water heater that keeps going out can be frustrating, but it’s important to address the issue promptly to prevent further damage and ensure your safety. By following the troubleshooting tips and maintenance guidance provided in this article, you can resolve many common problems on your own and avoid costly repairs. Remember, regular maintenance is key to preventing future water heater issues.

If DIY solutions don’t work, always seek professional help to prevent any accidents. Additionally, when it’s time for an upgrade, consider investing in a more energy-efficient water heater to save on your utility bills in the long run.

Lastly, don’t believe everything you hear about water heaters. There are many myths and misconceptions that can lead to confusion. Always seek expert advice and accurate information when making decisions about your water heating system.

Take care of your water heater, and it will take care of you!

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