You depend on your hot water to provide you with warm showers, so when the water heater malfunctions, it gets your day off to a bad start. Fortunately, a lot of water heater problems can be fixed with a few repairs so you can put off replacing the heater. Here are three common residential water heater repairs that you might need to have done over the life of your water heater.
1. Replace The Dip Tube
The dip tube helps the tank deliver hot water by routing cold water to the bottom of the tank so it can heat up before it heads toward your shower. If a dip tube develops a crack, cold water leaks out before it makes it to the bottom of the tank, and that can make your water cooler than you like.
Replacing a dip tube is a matter of disconnecting the water supply line, pulling out the old tube, and putting in the new one. However, if the water line is copper, the line might have to be cut and soldered. Plus, since this work involves plumbing lines, it's important to follow plumbing codes for adding the water supply line once the new tube is in place, so you may want to call a plumber for help.
2. Put In A New Heating Element
An electric heater has two heating elements. These look like long double rods, and they slide in the side of the tank. One element is on the bottom and one is on the top. If you suspect a heating element is bad, you may want to call a plumber for help.
The element might not be working right because of the thermostat connected to the element or because a safety mechanism has tripped and won't reset. A plumber can identify the exact problem with your water heater and replace only the parts that are bad.
3. Replace The Anode Rod
The anode rod is designed to wear out because it sacrifices itself so the inside of the heater tank won't rust. You can tell when the anode rod has to be replaced because the water may be smelly or you might hear something banging against the sides of the water heater.
The anode is inserted in the top of the tank. The plumber can remove the old rod and put in a new one for a fairly easy water heater repair. You may need to have this done a few times over the life of your water heater.
Your water heater has many parts, and gas and electric models have some of their own unique parts due to the way they work. You may not know what's wrong with your heater, but if it stops making hot water or starts making odd noises, call a plumber to check the tank and make repairs when they're needed.