6 Common Water Heater Problems And Solutions

For regions that regularly experience winter season or cold weather, investing in a water heater is extremely important because of the water heater problems. Gone were those days when people had to heat their water in the stove or big pots for usage. Now, water heaters are used in many homes. It may not be visible to you at all times or even come up in your mind regularly, but the thing is, many people depend on their water heater when doing most of their daily chores.

Like the other machines and appliances you have at home, your water heater will require regular maintenance and checkup. The average lifespan of traditional tank-type water heaters is between 8 to 12 years. Meanwhile, tankless water heaters can last for 20 years or even more. They may be designed to last for decades, but you must not take them for granted. Otherwise, you might wake up one day, turn on your shower and realise you only have cold water for bathing.  

To maximise your water heater and extend its lifespan, you must know how to determine common water heater problems and their proper solutions. For your guide, here are some of the most common water heater issues and their solutions for a more effective and functional water heater.

01. No Hot Water

No Hot Water

Probably one of the top water heater problems that often catch homeowners off-guard is when there’s no hot water splashing at all. Imagine turning your shower or tap only to get blasted by a stream of cold, freezing water. Instances like these make people realise how vital water heater maintenance is. When your tap or shower isn’t producing hot water, it could mean a broken or malfunctioned heating element somewhere in the system. 


If there’s no sign of hot water at all after waiting for a few minutes, check first if the pilot light is on. If it’s off, you can turn it on and wait a few minutes for the hot water to pour out. However, if the pilot light works fine yet you’re not getting any hot water, it could signify a greater problem. In that case, contact expert plumbers from companies like Luke Ginger Plumbing who can fix your water heater in no time. It’s up to them if a total replacement is necessary.

02. Lukewarm Water

Lukewarm Water

If the water you’re getting is warm but not hot enough, it could be that the thermostat was set incorrectly or your water heater is wearing out. The thermostat is responsible for controlling the water heater’s temperature. If someone has changed the setting on your thermostat, it’ll likely cause the taps in the house to only produce lukewarm water.


You can set the thermostat back yourself to resolve the problem. If the thermostat was set correctly but still produces lukewarm water, you or a professional plumber might need to replace the thermostat. Meanwhile, if your water heater has been around for 8 to 12 years or longer, this might be a sign that your water heater is wearing out, and the plumber will recommend a total replacement.

03. Water is Too Hot

Water is Too Hot

As much as you want your water to be pleasantly hot, you don’t want it to be too hot that it could almost burn your skin. If the water’s too hot, it may be because you’ve set the thermostat’s temperature too high. 


But what if the thermostat is correctly set, but the water is still too hot? In that case, check the TPR (temperature pressure valve) immediately. A faulty TPR is dangerous because the water heater won’t automatically shut off in spite of reaching the correct temperature. Call a professional plumber immediately and have them replace the TPR.

04. Low Supply of Hot Water

Low Supply of Hot Water

This problem can happen in a house with a lot of household members. When too many people use the hot shower, the supply in the tank will run out. This leaves the rest of the family members with freezing water as the machine struggles to supply more hot water promptly. 

Another possible reason for the low hot water supply is that the machine has a cracked dip tube. This tube is responsible for pushing cold water into the water tank to be heated. When it’s cracked or has a hole, the cold water supply will only spill on the top or middle of the water tank. As a result, the cold water supply will be sent to the showers and taps of the house.


If the cause of the low supply of hot water is due to too many people, an easy solution is to readjust the heater’s temperature dial and then wait for 30 minutes. Or you can call a plumber to install a larger tank water or upgrade to a tankless water heater. Tankless water heaters can heat water on demand, so you’ll never run out of water regardless of how many users.

However, if the issue is due to a broken or cracked dip tube, you must call an expert plumber to replace the dip tube in your water heater system. This is something you can never do yourself as the process of dip tube installation is complex.

05. Water Leaks

Water Leaks

Water leaks is among the most common water heater problems. Over time, water may start leaking out from the system as the water will corrode your tank and cause cracks or fractures. Another reason for water leaks, especially if it’s coming from the top of the tank, is that the water connections are loose. 


Call an expert plumber immediately and let them diagnose the main culprit of the water leak. If the water connections are loose, they’ll tighten the connection of the hot-water out pipes and cold-water inlet pipes and resolve the leak. Meanwhile, they may recommend a water heater replacement if the leak is due to a corroded tank.

06. Discoloured and Smelly Water

Discoloured and Smelly Water

Seeing discoloured and smelly water from the tap or shower might be alarming or gross. Usually, the main culprit for this discolouration is the rust from the water tank. However, to be sure, check if it’s really the rusty water tank causing the problem and not the source of the water itself. 


To check, use the cold water to see if the discolouration and foul smell persist. If it only happens with the hot water, it means the problem is the water tank and its malfunctioning anode rod. In that case, get the help of a professional to change the anode rod of your water system. However, if the discoloured and smelly water comes from the hot and cold shower, the problem could be the water source, in which case you need to contact your water supplier immediately.

Wrapping Up

As someone who regularly uses your water heater, you must be familiar with the common water heater problems you might encounter, along with their solutions. Remember, whenever you spot any of these problems, you must deal with them immediately or call an expert plumber before it worsens. Best of all, check and maintain your water heater system regularly to ensure efficient heating and maximise its lifespan.

Before you leave, make sure to check detailed guide on heaters:

Solar Water Heater: All the Basic Things you need to Know!
Hot Water Heater: Storage Water Heater vs Tankless Water Heater

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