You turn on the hot water, let it run for a few minutes, and still no hot water comes out! Does this problem sound familiar? Hot water heater malfunctions can be frustrating, and they always seem to happen when you really need that warm shower. Knowing a bit about common hot water heater problems will allow you to identify a problem and have it repaired (or replaced) quickly.
Pilot Light Malfunctions
Your gas water heater's pilot light is used to ignite the gas to heat your water. If the pilot light goes out, you won't have any hot water. Sometimes, the light may just blow out or go out on its own due to an air pocket in the gas line. Check to see if the pilot light is lit. If it isn't, try lighting it manually by following the instructions in your water heater's manual. If the pilot light stays lit, you're golden. If it doesn't, you have a bigger problem, such as:
The thermocouple is essentially a safety device that stops the flow of gas to your water heater if the pilot light isn't on. Sometimes this device can wear out and will no longer kick the gas on even if the pilot light is lit. If your pilot light is burning but you still have no water, then a faulty thermocouple is likely to blame. Thermocouples aren't expensive parts, and your HVAC technician can replace it for you quite easily.
Faulty Gas Valves
This problem becomes more likely as your water heater ages. The gas valve may stop turning on when needed, or the thermostat it contains may malfunction and "read" the wrong temperature, turning off the gas supply prematurely. Your HVAC technician can evaluate the specific problem with your gas valve and tell you whether it's worthwhile to make the repairs or if you're better off replacing the entire unit with an updated model.
If you're having trouble with your hot water heater, contact the experts at P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling to schedule an appointment today.