When your water heater starts acting up, it can be tempting to think, "Great — another appliance needs to be replaced." And maybe that is the case, but maybe it is not. Water heater problems have a habit of sounding or seeming really grim, when in actuality, they are pretty easy to fix. Take a look at the following water heater problems that actually have pretty simple, low-cost solutions.
The pilot light keeps going out.
This is a common issue with older and lower-end gas water heaters that still have a standing pilot light. The water is not hot, so you go down and check on the tank, only to find the pilot has blown out. You relight it, but it does not stay lit. The problem here is generally not with the pilot light itself, but with the thermocouple. This is a device that is meant to detect when there is a flame and then allow gas to flow only if there is a flame. If it breaks, gas stops flowing. An HVAC technician or plumber can typically replace the thermocouple pretty easily and cheaply, and then your hot water heater will be back in working order.
The tank is making banging, pinging noises.
Banging, pinging, and rumbling noises that come from your hot water heater may make you think something has broken off and is bumping around inside. But really, you're just hearing sediment rattling around. Sediment settles out of the water over time. Luckily, you can remove it by connecting a hose to the drain valve on the bottom of your hot water tank and letting a few gallons of water flow out into a bucket or a nearby drain. Do this every year or two as preventative maintenance going forward. It will keep the noises from coming back and will also make your water heater more efficient.
Water is leaking from the tank.
This is only a major concern if the water is coming from a hole in the tank itself. In the vast majority of cases, if you look closely, you will see that the water is coming from one of the tank's valves. A plumber can easily replace any of these valves. The necessary parts only cost a few dollars, and the labor might take an hour.
Hot water tanks are easier to fix than you might assume. If your tank is misbehaving, do not assume it's a tragedy.