For no apparent reason, you’re suddenly running out of hot water when you never have. First, eliminate the obvious reasons for this – a houseful of company, a leaking hot water heater, or a leak(s) on a hot water faucet are three that quickly come to mind.
If none of these is the offender, it’s time to become a detective. Troubleshooting depends on whether you have an electric or a gas hot water heater. If you have an electric heater, the first place to look is for a faulty thermostat or a burned-out heating element. Less common but still possible, your electrical panel could have a faulty breaker. To diagnose any of these issues will require an electrical test gauge. Since we’re dealing with high voltage, we recommend you consult a professional to test your water heater’s electronics.
If you have a gas water heater, you could have a different set of problems to troubleshoot. Does your water heater make a “popping” sound when it’s heating the water? This would indicate a water heater that has sediment buildup in the bottom of the tank, reducing the amount of hot water available. A dirty burner assembly on your water heater will diminish the effectiveness of the water heater, as well, resulting in more required time to heat a full tank of hot water. The worst-case scenario is that you have a hot-water leak under your foundation, a “slab leak.” Symptoms of a slab leak are the three discussed previously, plus a couple more. 1) You hear running water when in fact you are not running water or 2) a hot spot on your floor.
Slab leaks develop when the lines running below your foundation begin to leak, or in some cases when they run above ground, pinhole leaks. When these occur, it’s important that you get professional help from a licensed plumbing contractor. Why? Because these repairs are critical to providing water to your home and you don’t wear to tear out walls or floors when you don’t need to do so. To do the repair correctly, you must be sure you can rely on the competence of the leak locator. Not all leak locators today are former plumbers, which can cause problems. Our leak locators are former plumbers, who understand how pipes run and don’t misdiagnose the leak’s location.
Proper diagnosis of your water heater problem is crucial. Recently a customer called us after another plumbing company replaced her water heater. The replacement did not solve her problem. With water heater prices exceeding $1,000.00 (depending on the make and model), this was an expensive mistake and unfortunately, not the first time we have been called to correct someone else’s mistake. She did, in fact have a leak under the foundation.
Folks, sometimes obtaining a second opinion on a repair is money well spent. We frequently find that on big-ticket repairs where people ask us to provide a second opinion, they either don’t need the repair or there’s an easier, less invasive way to fix the problem.
Our plumbers are very skilled in proper water-heater diagnosis and repair. Additionally, we specialize in slab-leak repairs and hot water re-routes. Don’t hesitate to call and get an expert opinion on the cause of your lack of hot water. We take pride in getting the job right the first time.