Water Heater Repair Basics

Water heaters are crucial equipment in any home, but sometimes they can break down. Usually, these units are relatively inexpensive and easy to fix for the homeowner.

Water Heater

Before you start working on the water heater, make sure that the power is completely cut off. You will need a voltage tester to check for line voltage, and you should also remove the plastic safety guards and access panels from each element. However, if you need professional help, contact Water Heater Repair Denver now!

The thermostat controls the temperature of the water in your hot water heater. If it is set too low, the water will cool before being distributed to your faucets. If the temperature is too high, your hot water may be scalding. A tripping thermostat can be caused by many things. One common cause is a dirty anode rod. This can be easily fixed by flushing it out. Another common reason for a tripping thermostat is a defective upper heating element. When the upper element fails, the water heater no longer heats. The problem can be corrected by locating and pressing the reset button located on the front of the tank.

If you are unable to get the upper thermostat to reset, it is probably time to replace it. To do this, shut off the power to your water heater and remove the access panel and insulation on the top of the tank. Locate the two wires positioned above the reset button, and then use a multimeter (try the UEI UTL33T digital) to check for voltage. The upper element should be receiving 240v.

Next, locate and remove the lower thermostat by unscrewing it. Be careful not to pull it out by the wires. You can find a new replacement at a hardware store, home center, or plumber’s wholesaler. Make sure you buy a model that fits your specific water heater. Once you have the new thermostat, turn the power back on and reconnect the wires. Finally, replace the thermostat cover and insulation.

If the thermostat is working correctly, the meter should return a zero value when you touch it to each terminal screw. A wide difference between the setting and the actual water temperature will indicate that you need to replace it. Occasionally, the temperature setting can get loose or even fall off entirely. This should not affect its function, but it is a good idea to periodically clean the thermostat to remove any sediment. This will help prolong the life of your water heater. In addition, you should also flush the tank regularly to keep the sediment out.

Pilot Light

The pilot light is a small flame that heats up the gas inside your water heater. This helps the thermostat detect that it’s time to turn on the heating elements so that you can have hot water. A service technician can make sure that the flame is burning at a proper rate and that it’s using as much gas as necessary. This can prevent your utility bill from going up unnecessarily.

If the pilot light won’t stay lit, it could be a sign that there’s a problem with the thermocouple or that the pilot itself needs an adjustment. It could also mean that the gas supply isn’t reaching the flame — a kink in a flex line or a gas valve that isn’t open properly can cause this issue.

A leaking pilot light is a dangerous problem that should be addressed as soon as possible. This can cause the tank to leak gas, which can lead to an explosion or a fire. If your pilot light is leaking, you should turn off your water heater immediately and call a professional.

You can try to relight the pilot light yourself if you follow safety precautions. First, shut off your water heater by turning the gas valve to the “off” position. You should also turn off the electricity to your water heater. Next, use a lighter or match to apply flame to the tip of the pilot light. Continue applying flame until you see the pilot light glow, and then wait a minute or so to ensure that it stays lit.

Water that smells or looks discolored can indicate a problem with your water heater. A clogged filter may be the culprit, or there might be a problem with the incoming water. In some cases, these issues can’t be fixed and you might need to replace your water heater.

If your water heater is making loud noises or sputtering, it’s probably time to call in a service technician. These are all signs that your unit is overheating and that it’s time for a repair or replacement.

Dip Tubes

A dip tube is the unsung hero of a water heater. The tube transports cold water to the burner located near the bottom of the tank. Without it, a water heater would only provide tepid water. Dip tubes are often made from heat-resistant plastics to prevent metal corrosion and damage to the sacrificial anode rod.

Like many plumbing parts, a dip tube is prone to breakage and should be replaced as needed. However, the task of replacing a dip tube can be daunting for those who don’t have the experience and knowledge required to perform the job properly. This is where a professional plumber can help.

Replacing a dip tube can be as simple as switching off the power to the heater (circuit breaker for an electric unit or gas control dial for a gas water heater), draining the tank, opening a hot water faucet in the home to release air, disconnecting the dip tube from the inlet port nipple on the water heater, and installing a new one. A new tube should be cut to length so it extends below the nipple and off the bottom of the tank. It should also be positioned so it points away from the drain valve to avoid mineral deposits.

Depending on the manufacturer, different tubes have different curves. Some have a mark that indicates the direction it should point so that the tube can swirl water around inside the tank. A curved tube is better at resisting rust and corrosion but requires more maintenance because it may require periodic flushing.

The last thing you want is to discover a piece of disintegrating plastic in your hot water! This is what happened to some units during the ’90s, when a water heater manufacturer produced defective dip tubes. These tubes would deteriorate into a variety of sizes of plastic debris that clogged strainers and screens in appliances and faucets.

The best way to prevent this is by switching to a higher-quality tube from a reputable manufacturer like AO Smith, Rheem, or Bradford White. These companies use patented technology to manufacture dip tubes that are less prone to corrosion and have a longer lifespan than traditional plastic ones.


Your water heater has a tank that holds the hot water that powers your home’s plumbing and appliances. If your hot water isn’t working, there could be a problem with the tank itself.

Water tanks are prone to corrosion from the sediment and minerals in your water. This can be especially bad if you don’t drain your water heater about twice per year to remove this material. If your water has a sulfur smell or is discolored, this could be the result of this. If this is the case, turn off your water and drain your tank. If this doesn’t get rid of the odor or discoloration, you may need to replace your anode rod.

Another common problem with water heaters is that they simply don’t produce enough hot water. This can be caused by a number of factors, including an undersized water heater or crossed hot and cold connections. A professional plumber can help you determine if your tank is the cause of this issue and can recommend a solution.

If you have a gas water heater, you should check the temperature and pressure relief valve (TPR). This is a safety device that releases excess pressure from your water tank. If this isn’t working correctly, it can lead to a dangerous leak. This is usually a simple fix, but you’ll need to contact a professional plumber to take care of it for you.

Lastly, if you notice a lot of puddles around your water heater, it’s likely that there is a leak somewhere. This is a serious issue that can quickly lead to a flood. It’s important to shut off the water supply and power to your water heater, drain it, and then call a professional for inspection and repair.