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Douglas Cooling & Heating Blog

Water Heater Troubleshooting Tips

When your Birmingham water heater does not deliver the hot water your household demands, you need easy water heater troubleshooting. Before you call a plumber for water heater repair, try these water heater troubleshooting tips from Douglas Cooling & Heating first. 

In this blog, we’ll cover common water heater problems and troubleshooting suggestions. Whether you have a tank or tankless water heater, we’ve got you covered! If, on the other hand, you’re ready to skip immediately to resolution, make an appointment now online. 

Tank and more recently, tankless water heaters, are common in Birmingham homes. These two types of hot water heaters operate differently and therefore experience unique issues. 

Tank Water Heater Troubleshooting Tips

Water Leaks

  • For leaks coming from the top of the unit, check the cold water inlet and hot water outlet pipes. Make sure they are tightly connected to the tank.
  • For leaks coming from the bottom of the unit, check the drain valve and ensure it is tightly closed. Turn it clockwise.
  • Bottom leaks may also stem from a leaking T & P valve, which allows water to release from the tank to correct excessive pressure within. Check the water heater thermostat and make sure its set temperature is not too high – keep it at 120 degrees for best efficiency and safety. If this does not resolve the leak, the T & P valve needs to be replaced.

Definition: A T & P valve, is a Temperature and Pressure relief valve. Because water expands when it’s heated, the T & P valve monitors the change inside the water heater during the heating process. It’s a safety feature and kicks in around 210 degrees Fahrenheit or a pressure of 150 psig, or pounds force per square inch gauge. 

No Hot Water

  • Ensure the unit has power. Check the circuit breaker for a tripped circuit or blown fuse dedicated to the hot water heater.
  • Check the thermostat limit/reset switch. This may trip if the water in the tank is too hot. Lower the temperature and reset.

Water Too Hot/Too Cold

  • Thermostat issues are often to blame for water that is too hot or too cold. Make adjustments to the thermostat to troubleshoot the issue. You may find it necessary to turn up the temperature of hot water over the winter months. Just remember to turn it back down once the weather warms up.

Tankless Water Heater Troubleshooting Tips

Tankless water heater models produce error codes and help homeowners pinpoint the system issue. Below, we cover common error codes and how to troubleshoot them.

No Ignition Error Code

  • Check your gas supply if your unit is gas-powered. Make sure gas valves are completely open and gas is coming into the home. Empty propane tanks are a common cause of no ignition in propane-powered homes.
  • Check the water valves to ensure they are fully open. The system is unable to ignite if the water supply is closed.

Flame Failure Error Code

  • Ensure gas is coming into the unit (if gas-powered). Check the gas valve is completely open, the propane tank is not empty (if applicable), and there is gas supply to the home.
  • Check the tankless water heater’s vents. Make sure they’re not blocked because a blockage has the potential to stop the flame.

Air Supply/Exhaust Blockage Code

  • Check for vent obstructions that block the air supply or exhaust vent piping.
  • Inspect the vent pipes for proper connection to the tankless unit. Make sure none are loose, and that there are no holes in the pipes.

Preventive Maintenance for Water Heaters

Preventive maintenance goes a long way toward water heater troubleshooting. This essential plumbing service ensures all components are correctly installed, tightened, and operational. Maintenance also cleans sediment from the unit to prevent damage to the system. Plumbers inspect and adjust water temperatures to ensure temperature demands are met while keeping your family safe.

Schedule water heater preventive maintenance annually to ensure your tank or tankless water heater is in good condition. Regular maintenance also helps extend the service life of your unit and helps your family save the expense of early water heater replacement.

Douglas Plumbing Solves Your Water Heater Problems!

For water heater help in the Birmingham, AL area, turn to Douglas Plumbing for quick and reliable repair service. When water heater troubleshooting doesn’t work, trust our team for an accurate diagnosis of your system issues as well as comprehensive solutions to prevent reoccurrence. 

Our licensed plumbers also assist homeowners with plumbing problems like a noisy toilet, slow drains, faucet or fixture installation, garbage disposal replacements, leaky pipes or sewer line clogs. 

We also provide emergency plumbing service if you have a water leak, burst pipes, backed up drains and other urgent issues. Call Douglas Plumbing today to schedule water heater repair or any plumbing assistance. 

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