No matter how much you think you're ready to own a home, there are always repairs that catch you off-guard. You can go months and even years before your hot water heater gives you trouble. Suddenly, you find a large puddle of water seeping from underneath or hear strange knocking and gurgling sounds coming from the tank. You go to bed with hot water and wake up to none. In the age of online instructions on how to do just about anything, it's tempting to key your hot water heater's symptoms into your favorite search engine and perform some DIY water heater repair. Here are a few reasons why you should consider calling a plumber instead.
To the Moon
The moon may be a stretch, but if your hot water overheats and the temperature and pressure relief valve (TPR) isn't working properly, the water heater may explode. The force could be strong enough to send it through the roof. At the least, it could explode inside your home. Many homeowners mistakenly think the TPR valve is broken because it leaks. If you notice water leaking near the TPR valve, this is normal. This valve should work to release pressure when the water inside the water tank gets too hot. Some homeowners think they need to prevent the leak and cover the valve. People use some rather interesting things to prevent leaks from the valve. Some homeowners use duct tape and garden hose spigots to modify TPR valves. You should never modify a TPR valve! Always call a professional plumber to check the source of water leaking from a hot water heater.
You're in Hot Water
Who doesn't enjoy a steamy hot shower at the end of a stressful day? Most people take for granted that they have hot water at the touch of their fingertips. But what happens if your water comes out of the spigot so hot it burns your skin? It is not normal to be unable to adjust scalding hot water. You may have a faulty thermostat, dirty heating element, or worn-out TPR. If you're not a plumber, it's best not to attempt to replace any of the three. It's not that you can't, but it's better to have a plumber investigate. Plumbers are trained to quickly figure out problems and safely replace any faulty parts. There's nothing wrong with wanting to save money on home repairs, but the few dollars you save may end up costing you if you don't get the repairs done correctly.
What's a Pilot Light?
If you have a gas water heater, your repair issues may include issues with a pilot light. If you're like many homeowners, you may not even realize you have a pilot light or what an important role it plays. A water heater pilot light is used to ignite the gas that heats the water. If the pilot light stops functioning, you won't have hot water. You should be able to light the pilot light on your own. Sometimes, no matter how many times you try to light the pilot, it won't ignite. This is a sign that you may have a faulty thermocouple. A professional plumber should be in charge of replacing a thermocouple. Anytime you deal with an appliance that uses natural gas, you're better off calling in a professional who works with gas on a regular basis and is trained to handle it safely. As you can see, for most hot water heater repairs, a plumber is the best person to call.