Water Heater Maintenance and Repairs

The Benefits of Caring for
Your Water Heater are Clear

Your water heater is covered by a warranty from the manufacturer. Please read the operating instructions that the manufacturer provides. In the event of a leak in your water heater, close the shutoff valve on the top of the water heater and turn off the pilot light. Call the manufacturer listed on the front of the water heater to request service. While some water heaters do not require additional insulation, we suggest that you consider an inexpensive water heater blanket when it is appropriate. This will save significantly on the cost of operating the water heater. These products are available at home centers and hardware stores. Check the operating manual that came with your water heater before you add a an insulating blanket.

Water heater gas lines

A heating, ventilation

Gas line fittings

In addition to breaks in the line itself, loose or deteriorating fittings on a gas line, such as one leading to a thermostat control box, can lead to leaks. A licensed plumber needs to make the fix and to check the other fittings

Pressure valves

Temperature and pressure valves often have a test lever on top that should be tested monthly. If the valve fails when tested, a licensed plumber should be called in to replace the valve immediately.

Faulty H20 heater valves

If the exterior valve on a temperature and pressure line from a water heater is faulty, water will tend to pool around the foundation just where the line exits the structure. A licensed plumber should be called in to repair or replace the valve as soon as possible to avoid foundation damage.

Copper gas line

Gas lines connected to water heaters should be made only of approved gas line materials. Copper is not one of them; gas can cause a copper line to deteriorate from the inside out. In such a case, a qualified company or contractor should be contacted to replace the line with a more appropriate material.

Water heater drip pan repair

A properly installed drip pan on a water heater will prevent costly water damage to ceilings, walls, floors and carpets by safely disposing water in case the tank ruptures. Any water heater located above a finished ceiling, such as on a second floor, requires a drip pan.

Heating elements

If a water heater is equipped with two heating elements, it is important to make sure that both elements are working in order to avoid slower water-heating times, higher utility costs and the eventual replacement of both units.

Correct pressure line exit

In order to safely vent pressurized steam, the temperature and pressure line in a house must be configured to make a 90-degree turn downward as it exits a house. Any other configuration is unsafe and should be corrected by a licensed plumber.

Pressurized steam

In order to safely handle pressurized steam, temperature and pressure lines should be 3/4-inch copper pipe all the way through. Any narrower pipe could be dangerous in the event of a water heater malfunction.

T & P lines

Temperature and Pressure lines should be 3/4 inch copper pipes. The elbow section shown here steps down to 1/2". The concern here is impeding the flow of pressurized steam in the event of a water heater malfunction. This line should be replaced with 3/4" copper piping. * A licensed plumber should be consulted to correct this condition.

Water heater wetness

Without proper ventilation in a water-heater closet, moisture can damage the walls and ceiling around it. A solution is to install a large vent above and a smaller vent below the water heater.

Water heater heating element

The heating element in an electric hot water heater eventually will need replacement. While a handy homeowner can do the job, a qualified repair person should be called in if there are any questions about handling the high-amperage element.

Water heater base support

If a hot water heater is supported by a wooden base, the base eventually may show signs of wear. If this occurs, repairs should be made immediately before the base collapses.

See also