The thought of going near a hot water heater may seem daunting to some homeowners, but there are 3 repairs that are not so complicated if you’re willing to give it a shot. 

As a trusted plumbing company in North Aurora, we get a constant flow of calls from shivering homeowners experiencing a freezing shower.  Often the call is due to these 3 simple to fix problems.

Hot water heater temperature

When water heater temperature is too hot or too cold, this is a common problem with hot water heaters. Luckily for the homeowner, it’s an easy problem to fix.

Every water heater has a temperature dial on the front of the tank. Adjust the dial to either increase or decrease the temperature.

Most Chicagoland plumbers recommend setting the temperature of the hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit which is also a safe temperature with young children in the home.  

You must give the water heater time to change the water’s temperature. Test the water to make sure the water has heated up to the temperature you like.

If this doesn’t fix the problem, then you could have a defective hot water heater thermostat on your hands. This is a much bigger problem and recommend you give Hobson Plumbing and Hearing a call. 

The pilot light goes out

If you have a gas water heater the pilot light may go out on occasion. There are several reasons why a pilot light might go out.

The pilot light is a tiny flame that exists to light the gas burner inside the hot water tank.

To light the pilot light first make sure the knob is in the OFF position. Wait at least 3 minutes. While waiting, you can remove the access cover to the burner. Use a flashlight to illuminate the burner.

After five minutes, turn the knob to PILOT. This will start the flow of gas to the burner. Depending on your model, there might be an ignition button. When you push the button, you will hear a click and the pilot will light. It might take more than one push to get the job done.

If there is no ignition button you will need to light the pilot using a flame source. Find a long-necked lighter and apply the flame until you see the pilot light burning again.

Once the pilot light is burning, you must press the regulator valve knob down a with a finger and maintain pressure for one minute. This allows the safety sensor to detect a pilot flame. After the one minute has passed, let up on the knob. Check that the pilot light stays lit then turn the knob to the ON position.

Draining The Hot Water Heater

There are several reasons you might need to drain your hot water heater. Many times, sediment builds up because of hard water, causing your water heater to become less efficient or even clog the water lines. Draining the heater’s tank will allow you to flush the sediment out before it becomes a problem.

Before draining your hot water heater, turn off the cold water supply valve (the water pipe that feeds water into the tank). Then turn off the gas or electricity.

For a gas hot water heater, turn the thermostat setting to PILOT. For an electrical heater turn off the breaker.

After turning off the heating source, you might need to wait several hours for the hot water inside the tank to cool.  Proceed with caution as the water draining from the tank may be scalding hot. If this becomes too challenging, please contact us so we can schedule a visit to your home and address the issue for you. 

Next, attach a hose to the drain valve. This standard outside style hose valve is located at the bottom of the tank, usually next to the thermostat control knob. Place the other end of the hose somewhere the water can drain such as outside or into the shower drain.

Always assume the water coming from the tank is hot as a safety precaution.

Next, open a hot water tap (faucet) nearest to the hot water heater. This will help relieve the air pressure as the water drains. Open the drain valve to let the water drain from the tank.

Once the tank is empty of water and sediment, you can refill the hot water heater tank. Refilling the tank is just reversing the above steps.

Hot water heaters can be dangerous. So if not 100% confident with your DIY skills then it’s a good idea to play it safe and call an expert.
Don’t wait until you’re deep in hot water, get your hot water heater repaired at the first sign of trouble. Contact Hobson Plumbing and Heating at 630.761.3400. for a trusted service provider in the tri-cities area.