Hot water is a modern convenience that we often take for granted. Running the tap to get hot water for cooking, those wonderful hot showers, and more are all dependent on our hot water tank. But just like every other appliance, our hot water heaters can fail. Here are some common issues with water heaters, and how you can spot the cause of your cold water.

1. No Hot Water

The biggest indicator that there’s something wrong with your hot water heater is a lack of hot water. It’s pretty easy to spot the symptom, that is, cold showers, etc., but the actual problem could be much more significant. If you find that your hot water is more tepid than you prefer, then there’s a few places you can check to see what’s the problem. But contrary to what you may think, your first stop shouldn’t be your hot water heater, it should the circuit breaker to check if it tripped. Your water heater could be fine, it’s your electrical system that can’t handle the problem.

2. Not Enough Hot Water

If your shower seems to be getting cold long before you’re finished, then your hot water heater could have a few different problems. One could be the thermostat. Many hot water heaters have a thermostat that sets the temperature. A lower temperature could mean the water is heated up, but it isn’t getting enough energy to actually sustain longer use. So check your thermostat and see if it’s at the right level for the heater’s size and your heat preferences. Another problem could be the element itself, which could be suffering some electrical issues. In that case, you’ll need to call a professional to inspect your heater and suggest a fix.

3. Long Reheating Times

Just like the not enough water problem, your heater simply need a thermostat adjustment to get the water heated to the right temperature at the right time. If that’s the case, experiment with the temperature and see if your water gets heated up faster. If that isn’t the case, more drastic measures that need a professional could be in order, like a faulty element or a poor reader on your heater’s capacity. You may also just want to consider an on-demand water heater.

4. Foul Odours

Foul smelling water usually has a single cause: bacteria build up. If your water is particularly foul, it’s probably time to flush your heater for a cleaning. This can take some time, so plan accordingly and try not to use any hot water in the interim. Bacteria-laced water can be harmful, so it’s best to avoid ingesting or using that water. If you need hot water, boil it for the recommended time first.

There are many different ways our hot water heaters can fail us, but that doesn’t mean we have to go without. By learning how to spot the causes of your hot water issues, you can get your water heater back to working condition. Remember to always heed all warnings on your water heater and to call a professional if you ever are unsure or do not feel comfortable doing this work yourself.

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