It’s one of those annoyances you hope doesn’t happen to you, but chances are it will at some point: you turn on the shower one morning and discover that the hot water is lukewarm, or it quickly starts to fluctuate in temperature. Something is wrong with the water heater so that it’s not producing a steady flow of hot water the way it usually does. But what is causing this? And can it be fixed?
Several problems with a water heater can lead to a drop in either water temperature or hot water volume. We’ll look at some of the most common below. If there isn’t a simple answer to the problem, call our experts to examine your water heater to see if it needs repairs or possibly a full water heater replacement in Vancouver, WA.
Accumulation of sediment in the tank
Sediment inside the freshwater entering your house can start to settle along the bottom of the water heater tank. Limescale from hard water is one of the most common culprits. When there’s sediment along the tank bottom, it forms a layer between the heat exchanger and the water, making it more difficult for the water to heat up. A tank flush can often solve this problem, and regular maintenance (which often includes tank flushes) will help prevent it in the future.
The aquastat is turned too low
The aquastat is the temperature control for the water heater. You usually won’t need to make adjustments to the aquastat because the water heater uses the same temperature for all tasks. However, someone may have mistakenly lowered the aquastat. Check on it to see if it’s set below 120°F. Please do not raise the aquastat above 140°F because it can create a scalding hazard.
Problems with the burners
The issue with the water heater may come from problems with the gas burners that create the heat for the tank. The burners may not be staying lit and turning off early, or a build-up of carbon or dirt along the burners is stopping all the jets from igniting. Technicians will need to remove the burners to safely clean them.
Broken dip tube
The dip tube carries fresh water down through the tank to the bottom where it is heated up. If the dip tube breaks, the fresh cold water will mix with the heated water at the top of the tank, which is where the water leaves the tank to go to the taps. This results in lukewarm water. If this occurs, you may notice a rumbling sound from the tank because of the combination of different temperature water.
Aging water heater
Finally, a decline in hot water volume is a common warning sign of a water heater coming to the end of its service life. If your water heater is more than 15 years old and you start to notice less hot water available to the house, you probably need to have a new water heater installed.
Clawson Heating & Air Conditioning is “Connecting People to Comfort”! Call us to examine your water heater when it isn’t performing as it should.