4 Common Water Heater Issues

Most homeowners will agree that their water heater is the most essential appliance in their home. No other device can step in to make bathing or doing household chores like laundry and washing dishes possible. But since this treasured appliance is located out of the way in the basement or a utility space, you rarely think about it until there is a problem. Unfortunately, that also means that your water heater is not getting the regular maintenance it needs to enjoy a long life of around 15 years. And you are going to be facing one or more of the four most common water heater woes.

Very Little Hot Water

If you have discovered that you no longer have much hot water in your house, there could be a few issues at play. The most common problem is that you have not been draining and flushing your water heater holding tank regularly. The result of this lack of care is significant mineral build-up inside the holding tank. As the sediment increases, it creates a layer of insulation between the water heater’s heating element and the water. The result is what appears to be very little hot water. But in fact, you still have the same amount of hot water. It is just not as hot as it once was. The solution is to drain and flush the tank to remove the sediment.

No Hot Water At All

This is the worst situation for most homeowners because of the timing. You rarely discover that you have no hot water until you have jumped into that ice-cold shower. Once you recover from the shock of your cold shower, you can begin to explore the possible causes of your lack of warm water. If the water heater is electric, a blown fuse or tripped breaker is the best problem to have. They are easy to correct. However, in the gas of a gas unit, the line could be clogged.

The other common cause of no hot water is a failed heating element inside the holding tank. While you might be dreading the call to your plumber when this is possible, there is some good news. If the water heater is in otherwise good condition, the heating element can be replaced for a fraction of the cost of replacing the appliance.

Bad Odors

The hot water in your home should be clear and odor-free. If you have noticed an odd odor from the water, there is a problem. In most cases, the smell is due to contamination of the holding tank. Bacteria can survive in water that is below 135 degrees. If your water heater was set lower than 135, bacteria could be thriving, causing the foul odor. Increasing the temperature should kill the bacteria. However, if the issue persists, contact your local plumber to drain and professionally clean the holding tank to remove any bacteria.


As a water heater ages, several components can begin to leak. For example, the pressure relief valve, drain valve, and any fittings at or near the water heater can start to wear out and leak. The good news is that your plumber can replace these components if the water heater is otherwise in good working order. These repairs will save you a substantial amount of money as compared to replacing the entire water heater.

If you are experiencing any of these issues with your water heater, or need to schedule regular service and maintenance, call (334) 206-8878. The licensed plumbers at Alabama Home Pros have decades of experience fixing and maintaining all makes and models of water heaters in the region.