Troubleshooting Your Hot Water Heater


It’s the middle of winter, you’re in the shower, and your supply of hot water runs out. You’re now faced with two equally terrifying prospects: first, that you need to finish your shower with cold water; second, that you’ve now got to figure out why your hot water heater stopped providing you with hot water in the first place. In this article we are going to walk you through some of the common troubleshooting items to check when your hot water heater decides to cut off your supply.

Troubleshooting a Natural Gas Hot Water Heater

Note: if you are uncomfortable performing work on your hot water heater it will be best to leave the service to a professional. Learn more about our hot water heater services. Most water heaters in the tri-state area use natural gas as a fuel source. Here are some items to check when troubleshooting your natural gas water heater:

No Hot Water

  • Check your pilot light and ensure that it is lit – Modern gas water heaters will cut off the supply of gas if the pilot light goes out. In this event, no flame is available to heat the water.
  • Check to ensure that the flow of gas is working as intended – If the burners aren’t receiving any gas, they won’t be able to ignite. No ignition, no hot water.
  • Check the thermostat on the hot water heater to ensure that it is set to the appropriate temperature.

Lukewarm Water

  • Check the thermostat on the hot water heater to ensure that it is set to the appropriate temperature.
  • Check that the pilot light is lit and that it remains lit. If the pilot light is intermittent, the thermocouple may be cutting the supply of gas. In this scenario, the hot water heater will not be providing a consistent supply of heat, resulting in your hot water tank being more of a lukewarm water tank.
  • Check the venting on the hot water heater to ensure it is not clogged. If the vents are clogged it will greatly impair the hot water heater’s ability to heat water and recover when its available supply of hot water is exhausted.

Water is Too Hot

  • Check the thermostat on the hot water heater to ensure that it is set to the appropriate temperature.

“Dirty” Water/Colored Water

  • If the hot water is black, red, or the color of rust, it may be the result of the anode rod being completely dissolved. In this case, the anode rod will need to be replaced.
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866-792-7154