Common Water Heater Issues and How to Troubleshoot Them


water heater


Water heaters play a significant role in providing hot water for various household and commercial needs, such as bathing, washing dishes, and cleaning. As a homeowner or property manager, it’s important to understand that water heaters, like any other appliance, may experience common issues over time. Being proactive in maintaining your water heater and addressing any problems that arise can ensure uninterrupted access to hot water and extend the lifespan of the unit. To help you better understand your water heater system, the team at New Pro Plumbing is here to provide a comprehensive guide on common water heater issues and how you can troubleshoot them effectively.

In this article, we will discuss the most common types of water heater problems that homeowners and property managers may encounter, how to troubleshoot each issue, and when it’s time to call in an expert for assistance. We’ll focus on gas and electric water heaters, as these are the most common types used in residential and commercial properties. Whether you have a tankless or tank water heater, understanding how to identify and address the issues that can arise will save you time, money, and ensure the comfort and convenience of your home or business.

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into each of these potential water heater issues, providing valuable troubleshooting tips, maintenance recommendations, and advice on when to seek professional help from experienced plumbing experts like New Pro Plumbing. By the end of this guide, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to handle common water heater problems effectively and maintain the efficiency and longevity of your unit.

I. Insufficient Hot Water or Inconsistent Water Temperature

One of the most common water heater issues is a lack of hot water or fluctuating water temperatures. Here are some steps you can take to troubleshoot this problem:

1. Inspect the thermostat settings: Ensure that the thermostat on your water heater is set to an appropriate temperature. For most households, a setting between 120°F to 140°F is sufficient.

2. Check for sediment buildup: Over time, sediment can accumulate in the bottom of your water heater tank, reducing its efficiency and causing inconsistent water temperatures. Consider flushing the tank to remove sediment buildup.

3. Examine heating elements or gas burners: For electric water heaters, faulty heating elements could lead to insufficient hot water supply. For gas water heaters, the issue might lie with the burner assembly or gas valve. In these cases, it is best to contact a professional plumber for assistance.

II. Leaks and Signs of Water Damage Around the Unit

Water leaks around your water heater can lead to significant water damage and potentially compromise the structural integrity of your property. There are several potential causes of water heater leaks:

1. Loose connections: Inspect the inlet and outlet connections on your water heater for any signs of looseness or leakage. Tighten any loose connections as needed.

2. Faulty pressure relief valve: The pressure relief valve on your water heater tank helps regulate pressure within the system. If this valve is malfunctioning, it may cause leaks. Test the valve by lifting the test lever and releasing it. If water continues to leak, consider replacing the valve.

3. Internal tank corrosion: Over time, the inside of your water heater tank may corrode and develop leaks. Unfortunately, tank corrosion typically requires a complete water heater replacement.

III. Unusual Noises Coming from the Water Heater

If you notice strange sounds coming from your water heater, this may be a sign of an underlying problem that requires attention. Some common noises and their causes include:

1. Popping or cracking noises: These sounds may indicate sediment buildup within the tank. As mentioned earlier, sediment accumulation can reduce the efficiency of your water heater. Perform a tank flush to remove the sediment and resolve the issue.

2. Heating system noises: If the noises are coming from the heating elements or the burner assembly, you may need professional assistance to inspect, repair or replace these components.

IV. Issues with the Pilot Light on Gas Water Heaters

Gas water heaters rely on a pilot light to ignite the gas burner and heat the water. If your pilot light is not staying lit or is difficult to ignite, consider these troubleshooting steps:

1. Inspect the thermocouple: The thermocouple is a safety device that shuts off the gas supply if the pilot light goes out. If the thermocouple is damaged or malfunctioning, it may cause the pilot light to go out frequently. In this case, you may need to replace the thermocouple.

2. Clean the pilot light orifice: Sometimes, a dirty pilot light orifice can cause the pilot light to not ignite or stay lit. Remove the orifice and clean it using a soft brush or compressed air.

3. Check gas supply: Ensure that your gas supply is functioning properly and reaching the water heater. If you suspect any issues with the gas supply, contact your gas utility company or a plumbing professional.


Regular maintenance and prompt attention to common water heater issues can ensure the optimal functioning and longevity of your water heating system. We hope that the troubleshooting tips and advice provided in this guide will prove helpful to you in addressing any problems you encounter with your water heater.

At New Pro Plumbing, our team of skilled and experienced plumbers in Los Angeles is ready to assist you with any water heater repair or maintenance needs. Contact us today to schedule a service appointment or to learn more about our comprehensive range of residential and commercial plumbing services.

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