Charlotte Plumber DIY Series: How to Troubleshoot a Broken Water Heater: Part II

Hot water heater repair Charlotte

Is your electric water heater not working, and you don’t know why? Listed here are some problems you may be having and how to troubleshoot and repair them. This is Part II of a two-part Charlotte plumber DIY guide on potential water heater problems and solutions. Read the other half of the guide here.

Problem 4: Water leaks

Potential Causes

  • Defective temperature and pressure (T&P) valve
  • T&P valve leak from excessive pressure, overheating, or is stuck
  • Leak from overhead or nearby plumbing connection
  • Leak from bad gasket or loose heating element bolt(s)
  • Leaking water tank (corrosion likely)

Potential Repairs

  • Put a bucket underneath the overflow pipe. Open and flush the T&P valve clear of debris. If a leak continues from the valve, replace the T&P valve.
  • Reduce the thermostat setting to prevent tank from overheating
  • If leak is coming from a pipe connection such as water inlet or outlet or T&P valve threaded connection, tighten the connection using an adjustable wrench to simply make the connection tighter. Be sure to not over-tighten!
  • If leak is from heating element, try to tighten the heating element mounting bolts with the water and power to the water heater turned off. Make sure they are tighter, but again, do not over-tighten.
  • If heating element leak persists after snugging bolts, detach the heating element and exchange the gasket.
  • If the leak is coming from a corroded water heater storage tank then the water heater needs to be replaced.

Problem 5: Rust colored water

Potential Causes

  • Corrosion occurring inside glass lined tank
  • Sacrificial anode rod is worsening (purpose of anode rod is to dissolve slowly to prevent rusting in the tank)

Potential Repairs

  • Exchange sacrificial anode rod with magnesium anode rod. Anode rods are available from a plumbing supply house.

Problem 6: Rotten egg odor

Potential Causes

  • Hydrogen gas created from decay of sacrificial anode feeding bacteria in the tank and creating sediment

Potential Repairs

  • Flush water heater
  • Treat tank and run some of the solution into water lines, using a hydrogen peroxide solution of 2 pints 3% peroxide to 40 gallons of water.
  • Let peroxide solution set in tank and pipes for 2 hours. Solution is not toxic and requires no rinsing.
  • Exchange anode with a zinc-alloy anode, if problem continues.
  • Exchange water heater with a plastic lined tank type, if problem is still present.

Problem 7: Low rumbling or popping noise

Potential Causes

  • Noise heard is the sound of boiling water. Excessive amount sediment buildup in bottom of tank is causing overheating of tank bottom and boiling of water to occur.

Potential Repairs

  • Remove sediment by flushing water heater.

Problem 8: High pitched whining noise

Potential Causes

  • Buildup of scale material on electrical heating elements

Potential Repairs

  • Flush water heater
  • Clean scale from water heater tank and elements
  • Install low-watt density heating elements that have larger surface areas to transfer heat to water more efficiently, conducting less electrical wattage per square inch than a standard high-wattage element.

How ER Services Can Help

Still unsure what is wrong with your water heater? Check out Part I of our water heater troubleshooting series here.

Need Charlotte Plumbing Services?

Are you interested in more information about water heater repair?

Looking to find an affordable water heater?

Need assistance or advice regarding gas hot water heaters?

E.R. Services is open 24/7, 365 days a year. You don’t need to take time off work or wait until the morning because we never charge extra for nights or weekends. Just give us a call at 704-269-1066 or use our online contact form.

Learn more about Charlotte tank water heaters here.

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Article Summary

Quick question & answer: How do I get rid of the high pitched whining noise coming from my water heater?

High pitched whining noises coming from your water heater are caused by buildup of scale material on electrical heating elements, but can be fixed with the following steps. Flush your water heater, clean scale from the water heater tank and elements, and install low-watt density heating elements that have larger surface areas to transfer heat to water more efficiently.

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