Troubleshooting your water heater

December 20, 2013 - Benjamin Dowson

One of the more common problems when troubleshooting your water heater that we’ve heard over the years is, “The water coming out of my taps smells like rotten eggs. How do I find out where this is coming from?”

Although more common in homes that draw their water from a well or pond, this particular smell results when hydrogen (from the anode rod in the water heater) combines with sulfur and bacteria from the water source. To start with, it is our recommendation that you replace the existing anode rod with a new aluminum one. Next, by adding a chlorination system to the home’s water supply you will kill the bacteria currently living in the water supply. This is one effective and quick way that you can take when troubleshooting your water heater.

Another common problem when troubleshooting your heater is leaking – safety relief valve, drain valve or the tank itself. Here’s how you can tell where the leak is coming from:

1. If the temperature/pressure reading seems low, the relief valve is the culprit and that can be easily replaced. (Drain tank, remove the pipe attached to the valve, and unscrew the valve from the tank. Screw the new valve on the tank, reattach the pipe to the valve outlet, and refill the tank. No more leak.)

2. The drain valve can be replaced much like the relief valve, if that’s the source of your leak.

3. But if the leak appears to be coming from the tank, the heater will need to be replaced.

At the end of the day, troubleshooting your water heater as soon as problems arise can lead to a faster diagnosis of the problem and potentially save you time and money by catching the problems early.