Author: Theresa Murphy

Water Heater Repair: Common Thermostat Problems

Denver Water Heater Repair is an insulated tank that holds hot water until needed. It heats the water through a gas flame below or electric elements suspended inside. It has a thermostat to control the temperature and a pressure relief valve.

Leaks around the tank are a big problem and should only be repaired by professional plumbers. The homeowner can fix other issues.

The thermostat is a small piece of equipment that enormously impacts your home’s comfort. But it’s not indestructible and can sometimes fall victim to malfunction. Some common thermostat problems include:

No hot water: If your heater cannot produce hot water, it may be due to a malfunctioning upper or lower heating element. You can check both by turning off your water, removing the access panel, and checking for signs of damage or corrosion on each one. If you find either, contact a professional immediately.

Lukewarm water: The cause of this problem may be a faulty dip tube, which transfers cool water from the top of your tank to the bottom so the lower heating element can reheat it. If the dip tube is damaged, it may not transfer this water properly, and your tank will overheat.

Water leaking from the bottom of the tank: If you’re experiencing a leaking water heater, don’t delay; it could result in a costly tank split. The best way to deal with this issue is to call a plumber, who will drain the tank and relieve pressure by using a plastic relief valve drain pipe.

If the leaking stops, you should be able to resume normal operation. If not, the leaking is most likely caused by a defective gas control valve or thermocouple. Both of these parts are expensive and require a professional to replace.

The thermostat is not turning on: If your thermostat is not turning on, it’s most likely because it’s programmed for the wrong type of equipment, running a pre-selected temperature schedule, or needs reset. Consult your manufacturer’s safety manual for detailed instructions on resetting and re-configuring the device to function correctly.

A toolset that includes a screwdriver set, a multimeter, wire strippers, needle-nose pliers, and insulated wire nuts is necessary for repairing a thermostat. Screwdrivers allow you to remove the thermostat cover, while a multimeter provides diagnostic measurements of voltage, resistance, and continuity. Wire strippers help you safely remove the outer layer of wire sheathing, while needle-nose pliers can manipulate small, delicate connections. Insulated wire nuts provide secure and safe connections by offering built-in insulation to protect against electrical shorts.

As the water in your home heats up, it expands. This expansion causes the tank to build up pressure. This pressure can cause the water heater to burst and flood your home if it is not properly vented or equipped with a safety valve.

This is where the water heater pressure relief valve comes in. This safety valve monitors the temperature and pressure inside the tank; if it gets too high, the valve will open. Water will squirt out of the valve to relieve the excess pressure and lower the temperatures inside the tank.

The pressure relief valve has a main body, bonnet, and spring. The main body is usually made from brass, aluminum, or stainless steel, depending on the operating environment and the fluid being handled. The valve body contains passages that allow fluid or gas to flow through the inner seal and into a control chamber. The control chamber is located in the center of the valve and contains a spring. The spring is compressed when the internal pressure rises above the set point. The spring force lifts a disc and opens the valve. As the disc is lifted, the pressure inside the system or vessel drops and closes the valve.

Various flanges and threaded connections are available for mounting the valve on the vessel or line. It is important to clean the flange faces or threaded connections on the valve inlet and the ship or line on which the valve is mounted before installation to ensure proper sealing.

The main problems that can occur with pressure-reducing valves are leaks, clogs, and incorrect pressure settings. Testing and maintaining your water heater regularly is important to avoid these issues. Water heater flushes can also help to keep your valve working correctly. If your pressure relief valve is not working properly, contact your local Bermad technical specialist to learn more about repair options.

The dip tube is a crucial component of your water heater. If it breaks or erodes, you’ll experience problems with the tank’s operation, including inconsistent water temperatures and low hot-water pressure at your faucets and shower heads. The good news is it’s easy to replace a dip tube.

Begin by shutting off power to the heater, either at the circuit breaker for an electric heater or the gas control dial on a gas water heater. Next, turn off the cold water inlet valve on the top of the tank. Then drain the tank. This will flush out any plastic flecks broken off in the tube.

Most modern water heaters use non-metallic (or plastic) dip tubes that withstand corrosion and do not accelerate the rusting of the steel tank. Those tubes are also easier to clean and maintain than the metallic ones that were used in older tanks.

To replace a dip tube, remove the pipe nipple and connector. Locate the nipple at the top right side of your water heater. It will stick up a little and have a short pipe threaded on both ends. Screw off the nipple and the connector with a wrench, then pull out the old tube. If you can’t remove the tube with your hand, insert a screwdriver into the end of the tube and bend it to loosen it.

If you want to purchase a new dip tube, look for one made of durable cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) that will not dissolve. It is available at most hardware and home improvement stores. Before installing it, cut the tube to the proper length. The manufacturer will tell you how to do this, but in general, it is best to align the tube so that it reaches down inside the water tank but is off the bottom.

Once the new dip tube is in place, reattach the cold-water inlet valve and restore power to your heater. Then, test to see if the water temperature in your home is consistent. If it is, the problem was probably caused by a malfunctioning thermostat or another issue.

When water expands while heating, it puts pressure on the pipes connected to the water heater. The pressure relief valve regulates this pressure. When the pressure gets too high, it triggers the valve to open and vent fluid or steam into the system. This relieves pressure and reduces the amount of pressure on other components, such as the hot water tank. When the valve has been activated, it should return to its normal closed position and shut off flow.

A faulty or stuck pressure-relief valve can cause leaky pipes, leading to costly water damage. Testing the valve periodically and flushing it at least once a year is a good idea.

The pressure-relief valve is a direct-acting device, meaning that the pressure acting directly on the internal components causes the valve to open or close. This valve is normally closed and holds the internal components in a position that creates a seal to prevent flow. When pressure increases to a preset limit, the force of the pressure overtakes the spring force and forces the valve open. The valve opens to allow fluid or gas to vent into another section of the system or the environment.

Once the pressure drops below the set point, the spring force again overtakes the hydraulic force and closes the valve. This process is referred to as blowdown, and it is an adjustment that can be calibrated within a specified range.

Some types of valves have an adjustment screw that can be tightened or loosened to change the pressure-reduction setting. The adjusting screw changes the amount of force that the spring exerts on the diaphragm, which in turn decreases or increases the pressure on downstream pipes and fixtures.

Before installing the valve, make sure that the flange faces or threaded connections at both the inlet and outlet sides of the valve are clean and free of any rust or mineral deposits. This will ensure a proper and accurate connection that can withstand reactive thrusts caused by the valve opening or closing. It is also a good idea to install the valve in a position that is as close as possible to the vessel and line it is protecting.