(continued from last blog…)
Little hot water: The first question is, does your water heater have a large enough capacity for the demand in your household? Remember as a teenager when Dad complained about not having any hot water when he took his shower after the rest of the family had already taken theirs? Use this handy hot flow rate calculator to find out if you have an undersized unit for your family’s needs. Also check that you don’t have hot and cold water lines crossed somewhere in the house. If you have a crossed line from the water heater to the washing machine, for example, you’re unintentionally using hot water where you don’t need it.
No hot water: You’ve got either a faulty gas pilot, thermocouple, or pilot control valve. First off, is the pilot light off? If so, follow these directions to safely light. If you’re unable to light the pilot light it might need replacing. The thermocouple’s job is to sense when the pilot is on and hot enough to ignite natural gas. If the pilot’s out the thermocouple will not open, as may also be the case if the thermocouple is defective. Again replacement the defective part. Same goes for the pilot control valve.
If you have water appearing externally around the base of the heater it’s more than likely one of three things. One, you have a faulty temperature and pressure control valve which you can flush clean, re-check, and replace if leaking persists. Two, with tank corrosion you should be able to see the area where corrosion has begun to eat through the tank in which case the tank will need to be replaced. Three, leaking connective plumbing. Again, easy to locate.
You’ll have to decide if you’re going to do any of these repairs yourself or call in a plumber. Just because you know how to identify the problem doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the best person to fix it. BE SAFE.