It’s that that time of year again. Every spring, thousands of Toronto homes require water heater repairs due to cold weather damage.  A lot of clients come to us seeking plumbing repairs after the harsh winter has taken its toll on pipes, pumps, valves, and gaskets. Small problems develop as the temperature drops, often going unnoticed until there is a failure. Regular preventive maintenance and inspections could prevent most of the hot water catastrophes homeowners tend to experience around this time of year.

If you’re experiencing difficulties with the hot water in your home, read on for a list of the most common problems, their causes, and how to identify them.

No Hot Water

Picture this: Early one cold morning, your alarm goes off. You pull yourself out of bed and head for the shower, turning on the hot water. Half-asleep, you wait for the water to warm while following your morning routine. Now ready for your shower, you reach out and check the water. It’s freezing cold. It happens all the time, and is why most clients call us for water heater repairs.

This is often seen with old, improperly maintained gas water heaters.

First off, check to see if the pilot light is lit:

  • If the pilot will not light, or does not stay lit, the thermocouple has probably failed. Turn off the gas line and schedule a thermocouple replacement as soon as possible.
  • If the pilot light is working fine, the thermostat has probably failed, and needs to be replaced.

Long Wait

Water is moved from the heater to faucets through hot water lines. If it’s taking a long time for the hot water to arrive at a faucet, it is usually because either:

  • The pipes are cold. Make sure that your hot water lines are insulated. This is especially important in preparing your system for a Toronto winter.
  • The faucet is a long distance from the heater. Consider installing a recirculation system to provide instant hot water all over your home.

Other problems

  • Scalding hot or lukewarm water is another case of thermostat failure, requiring replacement.
  • Noisy operation or dirty water can be solved by having a professional drain and flush the tank.
  • Rusty or leaky tanks require complete replacement.
  • Overflowing heaters may require a release valve replacement.

If you end up requiring Toronto water heater repairs, you should have a qualified plumbing expert inspect the entire system. Many times, a single part breaks and starts a cascading failure effect. Do-it-yourself homeowners replace the single worn part and ignore the rest of the system until it fails again just down the road. I’d like to remind everyone that yearly inspections and preventive maintenance before winter is recommended for all homes, especially the older ones.

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