Water Heater Repair: Things You Shouldn’t Do Yourself
When it comes to Cincinnati Water Heater Repair you should always leave the work to an expert. This is because it involves water and electricity, which can be dangerous to mix.
Licensed plumbers are trained to understand all the different aspects of your hot water heater, whether it’s gas or electric. They can help solve problems like rusty water, weird smells, or a lack of hot water.
Thermostats regulate the temperature of a room or a device by controlling the flow of electricity through the circuit. They are a combination of two Greek words, thermos, meaning heat, and statos, meaning constant or static. A thermostat works by detecting the current temperature of the surrounding area and then turning the heating or cooling system on and off to maintain a constant temperature. Water heaters also have thermostats that control the heating and cooling of the tank itself.
Electric water heaters are simple to operate, and there are only a few things that can go wrong with them. The heating element may fail, the high-temperature cutoff may trip, or sediment can build up in the tank. The most common problem is that the water turns cold or that there isn’t enough hot water for showers and washing dishes.
If you’re experiencing one of these problems, start by checking the electrical panel to make sure the breaker is in the on position and that any fuses are not open or blown. If you don’t find any problems with the fuses or breaker, try restarting the water heater by flipping the switch on the service panel to the on position. Wait 30–60 minutes and check the temperature of the water flowing from your faucets.
This method works for most residential 120, 240, and 480-volt electric water heaters that have traditional line voltage controls. It does not apply to microprocessor or digital control models that are now available for home use.
If your electric water heater is new and has never worked, it’s possible that the field wiring is incorrect or that there was a temporary lapse in factory quality control. Ensure that all wire nuts and terminal screws are tight. If you can’t get the water heater to turn on, check for a loose connection by touching the red and black probes to the top and lower heating elements. If the wires are hot and the heating element terminal screws are cool, the lower thermostat is likely bad. If the wires are warm and the heating element is cool, the upper thermostat is probably good.
The heating elements in your electric water heater heat up when an electrical current passes through them, causing them to become hot. Over time, they can burn out or lose efficiency and effectiveness due to sediment buildup, so they will need to be replaced. This is another simple, relatively inexpensive repair that most homeowners can do themselves.
To begin the process of replacing your element, first turn off the power to the water heater by turning off the circuit breaker or removing the fuse that controls the unit’s electricity. Then disconnect the element wires by loosening them with a heating element wrench (available from most hardware stores). Before you proceed, however, it’s important to make sure that the problem is truly with the element. A multimeter should be used to check the resistance of the element. If the reading is high, it’s likely that the element has burned out and is unable to produce heat; it may also be a sign of damaged wiring.
You can purchase replacement elements in a variety of sizes and wattages, but it is generally recommended to choose the same voltage, wattage, and style (screw-in or bolt-in) as the original component. It’s also a good idea to replace both of the elements, even if one is currently in working condition; it’s unlikely that one will go bad shortly after the other, so proactively replacing them will save you money and trouble in the long run.
Lastly, before you replace the element, make sure that you have the proper tools and safety equipment. You will be handling both water and electricity, so be sure to wear rubber gloves and a face mask. Likewise, be sure that the area around the heater is free of debris and other potential dangers.
Once the element is removed and replaced, turn the power back on by turning the breaker on. After several hours, check the temperature of the water. If it’s still too cold, it’s time to consult a professional. The dip tube is the pipe that transfers cool water from the top of the tank down to the lower element, so it can be reheated. Over time, it can become worn out or even spring a leak, which will result in a sudden reduction in overall water temperature.
If you have noticed that your showers are becoming a little shorter than usual, you may be dealing with a broken dip tube. The dip tube is the pipe that brings cold water into the bottom of your heater and helps prevent hot and cold water from mixing. The tube is typically made of heat-resistant plastic to ensure that it does not damage the sacrificial anode in the bottom of your heater tank.
Dip tubes can deteriorate in hot water, especially at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This can result in small pieces of plastic sloughing off the tube and floating in the tank. This accumulated plastic can then be drawn into the hot water outlet port at the top of the tank. This will significantly reduce the amount of hot water that is available for your showers.
The solution is to replace the dip tube with a new one. This can be done on most electric or gas water heaters. You can buy these at most home improvement stores or online. The most important thing is to make sure that the new tube is the correct length. It should be long enough to draw the cold water inlet water down to below the element, but not so long that it is hanging off the side of the tank.
There are a few different types of dip tubes that you can use, depending on your needs. Some are straight, while others have a curved shape that swirls the water as it travels through them. This is designed to reduce the buildup of sediment in your heater tank and can save you from having to flush out the whole system later on.
If you are comfortable with terms like hot water supply, polyethylene (Pex) pipe, and inlet nipple, then replacing the dip tube can be a fairly simple do-it-yourself project. The process will vary slightly based on the type of water heater that you have, but the basic steps are the same for all. You will need a pipe wrench, a new plastic dip tube, Teflon tape, and pipe connectors or pex connectors.
The water heater pressure valve is an important safety feature that prevents the system from overpressurizing and causing dangerously high temperatures or backpressure. It works by releasing steam and hot water through a discharge tube when the pressure or temperature is too high. This prevents injuries to household members and damage to appliances and plumbing fixtures. It also protects the tank from rupturing. This guide explains how the valve works and provides information about how to troubleshoot and repair an electric water heater pressure relief valve that isn’t working properly.
The pressure-relief valve has an inner mechanism that constricts the diaphragm, reducing the pressure that is transmitted past the valve. This reduces the stress on pipes and appliances installed in front of the valve, preventing leaks and ruptures that can cause expensive repairs.
It can be adjusted to allow water to flow through at a range of pressures by changing the amount of tension on the spring that holds the valve shut. This can be done by turning the adjustment screw on the top of the valve.
When the temperature or pressure rises to 210 degrees Fahrenheit (or 150 pounds per square inch) and beyond, the pressure-relief valve opens. This releases the steam and hot water through the discharge pipe and allows the system to return to normal operation.
To test the water heater pressure relief valve, first shut off the power at your electrical service panel. Then, shut off the cold-water supply valve and open a hot-water faucet somewhere in your house to speed up drainage. Next, unscrew the metal lever on the valve and open it just enough to let a small amount of water—a quarter cup or so—out into a bucket. If the valve stays in this open position, it’s stuck and needs to be replaced. If it snaps back into its original closed position quickly, it is working properly. If it doesn’t, the valve is leaking and must be replaced. For safety reasons, you should always wear rubber gloves and close-toed shoes when testing the pressure valve.