Even modern gas water heaters rely on electricity for operation, because it supplies their control mechanisms and often the burner ignition circuits as well since pilot lights are being replaced by electronic sparks. At Tioga Plumbing & Electric, we know that checking the power supply can be an effective first step in water heater repair and diagnosis, no matter what type of unit your Arlington, TX home has. For those who use electricity as their primary source of heat, for traditional tank-based units, or as backup, in hybrid units, it’s important to make sure there’s sufficient power as well. For electric tankless water heaters, their reduced overall energy usage is complemented by much higher energy usage for a short period of time, and they often require special high-capacity circuits. Tracing the role of electric power in each type of water heater repair can often lead to solutions for insufficient heating or other problems. Each unit has its own unique plumbing problems as well, and symptoms of tank pressure, leaking, and other plumbing-related issues. These require careful attention to avoid water release and damage near the unit, especially for tank-based units containing 40 gallons or more of hot water.
Needing a Light
Most modern gas-fueled water heaters use electronic ignition rather than a standing pilot light to ignite the burner, and for both tank-based and tankless water heater repair, this could involve repair or replacement of the igniter assembly and its power supply. Because of this new ignition system, homeowners should not attempt to manually light their water heater as they could in the past. For water heaters with a pilot light, failure to heat the water may be because the gas supply is interrupted by a mechanism that includes a thermocouple monitoring the status of the pilot light.
Control System Problems
All but the most basic water heater systems use a control system to more efficiently operate their heating mechanism, especially for hybrid water heaters and tankless water heaters which use intelligent decision processes to optimize performance, and a collection of sensors to ensure proper operation. The hybrid water heater may switch from heat pump compressor-based operation to a backup electric heater when the primary method is not sufficient due to ambient air temperature or other problems requiring water heater repair. It’s possible that this failover mechanism might reveal that the backup heating element is not working properly, due to element, electrical connection, or thermostat trouble, and require water heater repair only when that specific situation where heat pump operation is not available occurs.
Circuit Breaker and Wiring Problems
Focusing on the water heater malfunction, customers may not realize that a problem with the electrical wiring or circuit breaker is the initial source of the trouble. It’s important not to continue to reset the circuit breaker to resolve water heater repair problems since the circuit breaker itself could be faulty and needs a replacement for safety reasons. Frequent resets could also indicate a transient electrical problem in the water heater as well, which should be addressed to avoid further damage as well as circuit breaker wear. Wiring problems could include corrosion of the water heater wiring or loose connections, both safety hazards that could result in electric shock or fire hazard. For a tankless water heater, the current involved in the operation is usually significantly higher than that for a tank-based unit, and it is even more essential to ensure that proper, clean connections are in place without corrosion or other defects, because of the high power involved. Intermittent water heater problems or failure to maintain adequate temperature may be the result of power problems in electric units.
Problems with thermostat devices can result in low hot water temperature or dangerously high water temperature. Most electric tank-based water heaters have two sets of heating elements and thermostats, and failure to heat or shut down because of overheating on either one can leave the other one providing heat directly to only half the tank, slowly extending to the other half with the inactive heater. This can result in strange hot water supply problems, such as a long supply of cool or lukewarm water followed by a half-tank’s worth of hot water, or the reverse, hot water released first, but in a reduced quantity, followed by cooler water. This corresponds to the upper and lower sections of the tank, with hot water being drawn from the top where a shut-off valve is present. Overtemperature situations should be handled by the thermostat, with the pressure and temperature relief valve providing a backup to prevent the risk of the tank rupturing or even exploding.
Tankless Sensor Issues
Tankless water heaters last much longer than tank-based units because they have a fairly simple design without a tank holding water that can cause accelerated corrosion, especially if the anode rod is not in good condition. The tankless water heater relies on a control system and a collection of sensors that provide information such as the water flow rate, which tells the water heater to begin heating quickly when a tap is opened sufficiently, usually halfway, on the house’s hot water plumbing. Temperature sensors and a variety of safety sensors depending on whether the unit is electric or gas-powered, allow the control system to properly manage the unit’s operation. A sensor that monitors vent airflow reminds the owner when the filter has become clogged, and if the filter is not cleaned, eventually shuts the water heater down for safety. Except for basic maintenance of the filter and descaling to protect the heating elements, tankless water heaters tend to have limited repair needs, possibly sensors or heating element replacement later.
Your Expert Water Heater Repair Team in Arlington, TX
Tioga Plumbing & Electric is your plumbing and water heater repair team, with access to highly skilled electricians if your water heater repair requires them in Arlington, TX. Give us a call for expert water heater service today!