August 1, 2015

Easy DIY water heater repairs

By Lyle Weischwill
Easy DIY water heater repairs.
Easy DIY water heater repairs.

The hot water conveniently produced by a water heater is something many of us never really think about–until we suddenly run out of hot water halfway through a shower. While just the thought of no hot water might send shivers down your spine, don't panic. Our DIY repair guides can help you get warm water again in no time.

Replace a leaking drain valve

The drain valve at the bottom of the water heater allows you to drain and flush the tank of sediment buildup using your garden hose. If the drain valve starts to leak, replace it. Our repair guide How to replace a water heater drain valve can help get the job done quickly.

Replace a failed heating element in an electric water heater

Most electric water heaters use two heating elements to bring the water to the correct temperature–one at the top and one at the bottom. If either element fails, you may run out of hot water more quickly than usual. This is a very simple repair, and instructions on how to fix the problem are in our repair guide How to replace an electric water heater heating element.

Replace a bad thermostat in an electric water heater

A thermostat in an electric water heater maintains the right water temperature by turning the heating elements on and off. If the thermostat fails, the elements might stay on too long, resulting in scalding water; or it could cause the elements to not come on at all, which means no hot water. Check out our repair guide How to replace an electric water heater thermostat if your thermostat has failed.

Replace a bad anode rod

The anode rod in a water heater helps prevent rust and corrosion in the tank by attracting oxidizing compounds in the water. The rod keeps these compounds away from the tank and eventually wears out. It's simple to replace the anode rod following the instructions in our repair guide How to replace an electric water heater anode rod.

Replace a leaking temperature/pressure relief valve

A temperature and pressure relief valve on a water heater opens automatically to release hot water if the temperature or pressure inside the tank gets too high. Replace the relief valve if you notice any leaking. The repair is an easy one with instructions in our repair guide How to replace a water heater temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve.

Symptoms common to all water heaters

Choose a symptom to see related water heater repairs.

Main causes: lack of power, no gas supply, thermostat limit switch tripped, bad element, bad thermostat, gas valve failure, bad thermocouple
Main causes: water supply needs chlorine treatment, anode rod too reactive
Main causes: thermostats need adjustment, water heater capacity too low, bad heating element, thermostat failure, excessive tank sediment
Main causes: thermostat temperature set too high, thermostats need adjustment, faulty thermostat, shorted heating element
Main causes: faulty pressure relief valve, water is overheating
Main causes: broken heating element, thermostat failure, excessive tank sediment, tank size too small, burner valve assembly failure
Main causes: loose water pipe fittings, leaky drain valve, bad temperature-pressure relief valve, leaky heating element, cracked tank

Articles and videos common to all water heaters

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your water heater.

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