Troubleshooting Gas Water Heaters in King County

By Frank Gaborik | October 27, 2022

Troubleshooting Gas Water Heaters in King County

water heater problems troubleshoot

You may be experiencing problems like no hot water, abnormal noises, and general malfunctions with your water heater. Many of these issues can be quickly resolved without calling in a professional from Kirkland WA. Troubleshooting gas water heaters can identify the root of the problem to get your water heater up and running as quickly as possible.

Fortunately, most water heater problems are easy to fix. They can be as simple as relighting the pilot light or checking the power supply. More complicated issues may require replacing a part or calling in a professional, but if you follow this troubleshooting guide, you can get your water heater running again in no time.

Electric water heaters are similar to gas-fueled models; they both use heating elements to heat water. The main difference is the heat source and that electric models don’t have a pilot light. Let us look at common water heater problems and tips for troubleshooting gas water heaters.

troubleshooting gas water heaters avoid costly repair
Rheem natural gas water heater

1. Water Leaks

In most cases, water leaks are attributed to plumbing connections, but they could also be due to a faulty pressure relief valve or a crack in the tank. Tighten any loose plumbing connections if you see water pooled around your water heater. A leak from the tank is a sign that it needs to be replaced. Other common causes of water leaks are:

  • a bad gasket or O-ring
  • a cracked heat exchanger
  • a loose drain valve
  • loose heating element bolts
  • a stuck or damaged pressure relief valve

How to Fix It:

  • Inspect for any loose plumbing connections and tighten them if necessary. If the leak comes from the tank, you will need to replace it.
  • Check the pressure relief valve to see if it is loose, corroded, or damaged. Replace the valve if necessary.
  • Inspect the heat exchanger for cracks. If there are any, you will need to replace the heat exchanger.
  • Check the heating element bolts to see if they are loose, and tighten them if necessary.
  • You will need to replace the pressure relief valve if it is stuck or damaged.

2. No Hot Water

A cold water supply is usually because there is no power to the water heater or the pilot light is out. If your water heater is electric, check to see if power is getting to the unit. If the pilot light is out, relight it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Cold water supply may also be caused by a faulty thermostat, a tripped circuit breaker, or a blown fuse.

How to Fix It:

  • To restore power to the water heater, reset the circuit breaker or replace the fuse.
  • For the gas water heater, relight the pilot light if it’s out. Read the gas meter and check the gas cutoff valve to see if there is power getting to the unit.
  • Ensure you rule out power issues before relighting the pilot,
  • For an electric water heater, check the thermostat to see if it is set correctly, and adjust it if necessary.
  • Check power switches and circuit breakers to see if they have been tripped, and reset them if necessary.
cold water splashing on a woman's face from a broken gas water heater

3. Not Enough Hot Water

An inadequate hot water supply can be caused by several factors, including a faulty thermostat, sediment build-up in the tank, or a damaged heating element. Your unit may also be undersized for your household’s hot water needs, crossed hot and cold water lines, or the water heater may be too far from the point of use.

How to Fix It:

  • Clean the sediment out of the tank to improve efficiency and increase hot water output.
  • Check the thermostat to see if it is set correctly, and adjust it if necessary.
  • Inspect the heating element for damage and replace it if necessary.
  • Have a plumber check the hot and cold water lines to see if they are crossed; they should be corrected if they are.
  • If your unit is undersized, you will need to replace it with a larger one.

4. Water is Too Hot

Too much hot water can be dangerous. It can scald people and damage plumbing fixtures.

The most common cause of water that is too hot is high settings on the thermostat. Adjust the thermostat to a lower setting to solve this problem. If the water is too hot, the thermostat may be faulty and need to be replaced.

How to Fix It:

  • Check the thermostat function and inspect for any damage. Replace the thermostat if necessary.
  • Adjust the thermostat to the desired setting.
  • Ensure both thermostats are reading the same heat settings
  • Ensure the water heater’s thermostat is firmly attached.

5. Discolored water

Discolored water is usually caused by rust or sediment in pipes or the tank’s inner lining. Rust can be caused by the high iron content in your water or a sign of corrosion in the tank. Sediment can build up in the bottom of the tank over time and cause the water to be discolored. In this case, troubleshooting gas water heaters aren’t necessary since you have all the evidence you need!

How to Fix It:

  • Drain the water from the tank and flush it out to remove rust or sediment.
  • Check the pipes for rust or sediment and clean or replace them if necessary.
  • Get a professional to replace the anode rod if necessary.
dirty water from broken gas water heater

6. Water Heater is Making a Noise

Strange noises coming from your water heater can be caused by a build-up of sediment in the bottom of the tank. As the water is heated, the sediment will harden and make a rumbling noise. This can also lead to the tank overheating, eventually causing the water to boil.

How to Fix It:

  • You can flash the tank to remove the sediment. This is done by draining all the water from the tank and then refilling it.
  • If the problem persists, you may need to replace the heating element.

7. The pilot light keeps going out

A pilot light that keeps going out can be caused by several factors, including a draft, a dirty or damaged thermocouple, or a problem with the gas supply. Check all of these potential causes before relighting the pilot light.

How to Fix It:

  • Inspect the gas control valve and thermocouple for dirt or damage. A gas control valve is not repaired and must be replaced if it is defective.
  • Check the burner for dirt or debris and clean it if necessary.
  • Ensure the venting system is not blocked, and the flue pipe is not damaged.
  • When the wind is blowing, the pilot light can go out. If this happens often, you may need to replace the wind guard.

8. The pilot light fails to ignite

Sometimes, the pilot light may fail to light even when the gas is on. This may be caused by several factors, including a faulty igniter, a dirty burner, a clogged fuel line, or a problem with the gas supply.

How to Fix It:

  • Check the igniter for damage and replace it if necessary.
  • Clean the burner and check the fuel line for clogs.
  • You may need to empty the air in the supply line if there is a problem with the gas supply.

Troubleshooting gas water heaters can identify and fix common water heater problems. We have outlined some of the most common issues and their corresponding solutions. If you are still having trouble, call Danika, your professional plumber in King County and Snohomish County.

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