How to Troubleshoot a Water Heater That Isn’t Working

How to Troubleshoot a Water Heater That Isn’t Working

Imagine a chilly morning, and all you crave is a warm, comforting shower to start your day. You turn on the tap, only to be greeted by ice-cold water. Frustrating, isn’t it? A malfunctioning water heater can disrupt your daily routine, but fear not. In this guide, we’ll empower you with the knowledge to troubleshoot and potentially resolve common water heater issues. At Frontier Heating & AC Service, Inc., we believe in equipping homeowners with the skills to handle minor problems confidently. So, if you’re facing a water heater hiccup, read on to discover solutions that will bring back the warmth and comfort you deserve.

Tips on How to Troubleshoot a Pilot Light Issue:

Is your water heater pilot light flickering or completely out? It’s a common problem, and here’s how you can address it.

Pilot Light Inspection:

  • Begin by locating the pilot light access panel on your water heater. It’s typically near the bottom.
  • Open the panel and observe the pilot light. Is it on, off, or flickering? You should start to see a blue flame.

Relighting the Pilot Light:

  • If the pilot light is off, follow your water heater’s manual to relight it. Usually, this involves turning the gas control knob to the pilot position, pressing it down, and using a long lighter to ignite the pilot.

Observe for Repeated Issues:

  • If the pilot light keeps going out, it may be due to issues like a faulty thermocouple or gas supply problems. In such cases, it’s best to call a professional.

How To Check for Leaks and Water Heater Damage:

Water leaks and damage can lead to costly repairs or even replacements. Here are the steps to help you find and fix this issue.

Visual Inspection:

  • Examine the area around your water heater for any signs of water pooling or dampness. Pay close attention to the base and nearby pipes.

Pressure Relief Valve Test:

  • Locate the pressure relief valve, often on the side of the tank. Lift the valve’s lever gently to release a small amount of water. If water flows freely, the valve is functioning correctly.

Drain Valve Examination:

  • Check the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. If it’s leaking, it may need tightening or replacement.

How to Check the Gas Supply on a Water Heater

Safety First:

  • Ensure the area is well-ventilated to prevent the buildup of gas fumes.
  • Do not smoke or create any open flames in the vicinity.
  • Turn off the power supply to the water heater if applicable.
  • Familiarize yourself with the location of the gas shut-off valve. You may need to turn it off in case of a gas leak.

Locate the Gas Supply Line:

  • The gas supply line is a flexible or rigid pipe that connects your water heater to the gas source. It usually runs along the floor or wall and connects to a valve on the water heater.

Check the Gas Shut-off Valve:

The gas shut-off valve is typically located on the gas supply line near the water heater. It resembles a small lever or wheel. To check the gas supply, follow these steps:   

  • Ensure the valve is in the “ON” position. If it’s parallel to the gas pipe, it’s open. If it’s perpendicular, it’s closed. 
  • Gently turn the valve to the “OFF” position (perpendicular to the gas pipe).
  • Wait for a few minutes to allow any residual gas in the line to dissipate.

Inspect for Gas Odor: 

While waiting, use your sense of smell to check for the presence of gas. Natural gas typically has a distinct, unpleasant odor. If you detect a strong, persistent gas odor, it’s crucial to act immediately:

  • Do not turn on any electrical switches or create any sparks.
  • Leave the area and evacuate the building.
  • Contact your gas utility company or emergency services to report a gas leak.

Carefully Turn the Valve Back On:

If you do not detect any gas odor and are sure there is no gas leak:

  • Carefully turn the gas shut-off valve back to the “ON” position (parallel to the gas pipe).
  • Ensure it’s fully open.

Relight the Pilot Light (If Necessary):

  • If your water heater has a pilot light and it went out during the process, you may need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to relight it. This usually involves turning the gas control knob to the pilot position, pressing it down, and using a long lighter or match to ignite the pilot.

Restoring your water heater’s functionality is essential for your daily comfort. By following these troubleshooting tips, you can tackle common water heater problems with confidence. Remember, at Frontier Heating & AC Service, Inc., we’re here to support homeowners in Hamlin, NY, with their water heater needs. Whether it’s water heater installation in Hamlin, NY or expert repairs, our community-oriented approach ensures you’ll enjoy reliable, warm water in your home.