Water Heater Repair Guide

Want to learn how to repair your water heater?

Maybe you just want to know what's wrong with it before
you call a repairman.

In most areas you can expect to pay $100.00 to $200.00 for
a simple repair.

Many problems are easy fixes. Some are more complicated.

You should only attempt repairs if you feel confident to do so safely.

water heater gas valve

This site covers most problems that
you may have with residential gas
and electric storage water heaters.

What we don't cover at this time
is fan forced vent gas units and
digital control valves.

If you find yourself with no hot water, usually nights and weekends
(go figure), you should find the information you need here.

There's a few tips below to help you get started if you have
no hot water.

Electric Units

Check your electrical breaker. It may have tripped off.

How can you tell? Usually the on/off handle will set
in between the on and off position.
Push it to off position and back to on.

Sometimes the breaker will trip and the handle will
appear to be in the on position.
Just give it a gentle shake, if it moves any at all, it
has tripped. Shut it off and back on to reset it.

If the breaker has not tripped, the next step would
be to check the reset button.

Gas Units

The first thing to check would be the pilot light.

On older units, remove the access panel
below the gas valve. 

If it is out, follow the lighting instruction on your
tank or go to this pilot light page for help.

On newer models you can look through the sight
glass below the valve.

Popular Pages

Water Temperature Settings

Environmental Protection Agency recommended temperature settings.

Occupational Safety & Health Administration recommended settings
under certain circumstances.

How to check and adjust your hot water temperatures. Water to
hot, not enough hot, water cold.

Reset Button/ Limit Switch

Where to find the reset button. Why did it trip off? How to
reset it, or replace it.

Hot Water Pressure Low

Covers hot water pressure problems at your sinks, tub and shower,
clothes washer, hot water pressure low in whole house.

Heating Elements

How to test or replace an element. Different types of elements.

Information you will need to purchase an element. Frequently
asked question.

Gas Control Valve

Different problems associated with a gas valve.

Many times the gas valve is not the problem after all.

Water Leaks

A water heater leak is not always easy to find. Especially if its a small leak.

Most water heater leaks are caused by plumbing connections, parts, or valves leaking.


Covers different types of thermocouples. How they
work, common problems, how to replace.

Water Heater Noises

There can be all kinds of strange noises coming from your tank.

Some customers has described them as,humming,rumbling,
singing, screaming, cracking, popping, tapping.

Noises can be very annoying, especially if you are
trying to sleep.

Newer Gas Models

FVIR water heaters

This is a pic. of a flammable vapor ignition
resistant (FVIR) gas unit.
These units came on the market in 2005.

On this site we usually refer to them as new
style units.

Older Gas Models

Lighting a pilot light

This is a pic. of an older unit. Production
was stopped in 2004. Most are probably out
of use now.
These pilot lights had to be lit manually with a flame.

Electric Model Improvements

electric wh access panel.

Improvement to electric water heaters have
been great for consumers. 

Low watt density elements create less sediment
and last much longer than standard high watt
density elements.

Less sediment means longer tank life. 

Two anode rods instead of one also increases  the life expectancy
of the tank. Tank insulation was doubled in new units as of 2016.

Electric units range in sizes from 2 1/2 gallons and up. Small tanks
up to six gallons are ideal to place under sinks. 

Smaller ones are 120 volts, larger units are 240 volts. Larger units
are also sold with single or duel heating elements.