Avoid Cold Showers With These 13 Water Heater Maintenance Tips

Nobody likes a cold shower; especially in the winter months. And here in Amarillo, the winters can get pretty chilly! Even washing your hands in frigid tap water can be an unpleasant experience. Thank goodness for water heaters! 

If you’ve ever had water heater issues — maybe you’re experiencing them right now — you already know just what we mean. So, what do you do to troubleshoot your water heater again if it’s currently on the fritz? And how do you prevent water heater failures (and, by extension cold showers) with routine maintenance?  

This blog aims to answer both of these questions. So read on for our hot take (pun very much intended) on water heater diagnostics & preventative maintenance. 

Water Heater Troubleshooting: DIY Fixes  

Stuck with a water heater that just won’t get your water warm? Maybe you’ve got another issue. Either way, preventative maintenance won’t do you any good right now. Here are some helpful action items and maintenance tips for diagnosing electric water heaters, brought to you by The Spruce: 

Safety First: If you’ll be performing electrical diagnostics, turn off the breaker switch to your water heater first. Also, be sure to check your water heater warranty…some repair parts or failures may be covered! With that out of the way, here are some common water heater issues and how to troubleshoot them. 

  1. If Your Heater Won’t Heat the Water: Check the circuit breaker first to make sure it hasn’t tripped. If that doesn’t work, try resetting the water heater’s high-temp limit. Most units have a red button, but refer to your heater’s owner’s manual if in doubt (or call in the pros). 
  1. Not Enough Hot Water: We hate to break it to you, but if your water heater produces hot water, but just not enough of it, it could be too small for your home. To remedy this, you’ll either need to splurge on a new heater, or get creative, by taking actions like taking shorter showers, installing low-flow plumbing fixtures, and spreading out dishwashing and laundry to different times of the day or even different days of the week. 
  1. Water Gets TOO Hot: This is usually fixed by adjusting the thermostat(s)/heat settings on your unit. 
  1. Water Leaks from Your Heater: Uh-Oh…this is never fun…thankfully, in many instances, you can simply chekc your water heater for loose inlet or outlet pipes & tighten them accordingly with a wrench. 
  1. Rusty Water or Smelly Water: In most cases, you’ll want to call a plumber in for one of these situations as it’s likely that the anode rod in your heater has gone bad & needs replacing. 
  1. Noisy Water Heater: Try turning off the power to your water heater, draining it completely, and filling it again. 

For other issues, such as indeterminate leaks, condensation, valve issues, and more, we recommend calling in a plumbing expert to get to the bottom of what’s going on, as it could be one of several things. 

Have a tankless heater? Check out this DIY diagnostic & repair guide

How to Maintain a Water Heater: An Ounce of Prevention 

Here’s how to perform maintenance on a water heater  before something goes wrong, per Forbes: 

  1. Perform regular inspections of your heater every two months. 
  1. Flush your heater one to two times each year. 
  1. Check the anode rod. 
  1. Test the temperature & pressure value at least once a year. 
  1. If you have a gas heater, make sure the venting system is working properly. 
  1. Check the thermostat setting. 
  1. Insulate your heater and pipes. 

One more thing: If you’ve put your heater into “vacation mode”, which is common for people with second homes or those going away for extended periods, make sure to check that it’s off vacation mode once you get back from your travels! 

Learn More or Get Additional Assistance Now 

Experiencing other issues with your plumbing, such as low water pressure? At Scottco, we can help with any of your plumbing, drain cleaning, heating, A/C, electrical, and other home maintenance issues.  

Have any questions? Just reach out, and one of our friendly staff members will be happy to help you in a jiffy!