5 Common Reasons Your Gas Water Heater May Not Be Working

Jan 31, 2022 | Home Tips, Hot Water Heaters, Tankless Water Heater | 0 comments

Hot water is something most of us can’t imagine living without and, fortunately, gas water heaters are one of the common choices for many homeowners because it heats water quickly and can provide ample amounts of hot water for larger households. It can provide hot water for bathing, washing dishes, and laundry. 

A gas water heater is a tank that sits on your property and heats the water that comes into your house through a pipe. The heated water flows out of most faucets in your house at a temperature of about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If your gas water heater isn’t working, it can be a huge inconvenience. Not only will you not have hot water, but you may also have to deal with a cold shower.

Here are some common reasons why your gas water heater may not be working and what you can do about it.

Water Temperature Problems

The most common reason for a gas water heater temperature is incorrect installation or adjustment of the thermostat. Other factors such as inadequate insulation, air infiltration, and improper venting can also cause the water heater’s temperature to decrease below the desired setting.

A gas water heater’s temperature generally decreases because the thermocouple senses that the pilot light has gone out. When this happens, the gas valve will automatically close and terminate the flow of gas to the burner. This can cause a decrease in your water heater’s temperature.

Improper installation or adjustment of the thermostat could result in dangerous conditions and should not be attempted by anyone other than a qualified professional.

Leaking Tank

A water tank can be a very important part of your home, providing you with water that you need every day. However, if your tank is leaking, it can be a big problem. If you notice that your tank is leaking, there are some things to do. First, turn off the water supply and call a plumber immediately. Second, check for signs of leaks such as wet spots or puddles of water near the tank. Third, make sure all connections on the tank are tight and properly sealed. Fourth, keep an eye out for any rusting around the top of your tank which may indicate corrosion problems with your connection points (a sign it’s time to replace). If you want to lessen the total damage that can occur when a leak happens, it could be time to consider a tankless water heater. Read more about it in our blog: 5 Benefits Of Buying A Tankless Water Heater.

Pilot Light Trouble

A pilot light is a small flame that burns continuously on the bottom of a gas water heater, providing heat to the unit and allowing it to operate. If the pilot light goes out for any reason, the heater will not work and you will not be able to take a hot shower. The most common reason the pilot light goes out is due to a lack of oxygen, which can be caused by either a blocked flue or insufficient ventilation. Buildup of soot, dust, or debris in the gas burner area can also block the air intake hole on top of the water heater tank.

Faulty Valves

Faulty valves in gas water heaters are a common reason for repair or replacement. Gas, like any other element that is combustible, needs an ignition source to light the flame; often associated with pilot lights (which can fail). If your gas valve goes out frequently, replacing it may be part of regular maintenance needed on your unit. The longer you wait to replace the valves, especially if there’s corrosion present due to lack of use and maintenance, the more likely they will become damaged which could result in costly repairs.

If you think your valve might be faulty, call a professional to have it inspected and repaired.

Dirty, Rusty, or Foul Water Odors

The common issue of dirty, rusty, or foul water odor in your gas hot water is likely caused by sediment and/or corrosion occurring inside the unit’s heating element due to minerals found naturally in well or city tap sources. Inside the burner chamber there can be particles such as iron oxide (rust), calcium carbonate (lime) and magnesium hydroxide which will cause flaking resulting in  a white powder. The gas flame will oxidize these particles and create a bad smell, but a very strong scent may indicate that there is a problem with the gas line. 

If this occurs, turn off the gas water heater and do your best to safely ventilate the area before calling a plumber and the gas utility company. It’s recommended to leave the area until the leak has been repaired.

Are you having issues with your gas water heater? Our plumbing technicians can help identify and fix the problem. We can also help you make the right buying decision when it comes to looking for a new gas water heater to install. If you’re ready to say goodbye to cold showers, reach out to us by phone at  (604) 256-7994 or contact us online.