Did you know that 19% of the average Canadian household's energy use goes toward water heater use? Or that the average household in the Great White North uses about 75 litres of hot water every single day?
If you live in Calgary, Alberta, however, it's likely that you use more hot water. On average, each person here uses about 7,000 litres of water every month. A huge portion of that is hot water, seeing as the city has some of the lowest temperatures in the nation.
That said, it's best that you have a local Calgary hot water heater repair company on speed dial. This way, you can get your water heater checked out as soon as it shows signs of disrepair.
At the same time, there are a few DIY water heater fixes that you can try on your own. There are also some maintenance hacks that you should do to prevent these issues in the first place.
Ready to learn all about the topwater heater issues and the simple fixes and maintenance tricks you can do? Let's dive right into it!
1. Pilot Light Has Gone out (For Gas and Petrol-Run Heaters)
In Alberta, including Calgary, natural gas is the main source of water heating energy. One reason is that the majority -- that's 65% -- of the natural gas produced in the nation comes from this province.
If your hot water heater runs on natural gas and it stops giving you hot water, there may be an issue with the gas grid. A solid sign that this is the case is if your home heater itself isn’t providing adequate heating. In this case, check with your natural gas provider -- their gas grid may have maxed its capacity.
If there's no issue with the gas provider, it's possible that your water heater's pilot light has gone out. The same applies to water heaters that run on petrol.
The pilot light is the actual flame that ignites your heater's burner. As such, if it goes out, so do the flames on the burner, and you end up without hot water.
Here’s an easy guide on how to relight the pilot light.
2. Pilot Light Doesn’t Stay Lit
In this case, it's likely a bad thermocouple that's causing your hot water grief. This part of the heater cuts off the supply of gas to your heater in case its pilot light burns out.
At the same time, the thermocouple produces a tiny amount of current when it gets heated by the flame. This current allows for the pilot gas valve to remain open. With a bad thermocouple, you don't get this current.
Without the current, the gas valve closes, which in turn, kills the flame. No flame, no hot water.
Give the pilot light ignitor a few more tries. You may just need to “warm-up” the thermocouple so that it can keep the pilot light lit.
If this doesn’t help, then you may already need a new thermocouple. Replacing a thermocouple, however, might be a little too complex for first-time DIYers. It may be best to have your friendly hot water heater repair experts in Calgary do this for you.
3. No Hot Water From an Electric Water Heater
In this case, check your circuit breaker -- it may have tripped and cut off the power supply to the heater. If you see the circuit breaker switch for the hot water set to the "OFF" position, just flip the switch to the "ON" position. If this doesn't do the trick, you may be dealing with either a blown fuse or a failed thermostat.
Before you call for backup, try replacing the thermostat batteries first. Then, make sure that your thermostat is set to heat at 120 degrees. This is the EPA-recommended water heating temperature that most Canadians also follow.
Once you have fresh batteries in, run one of your faucets to see if you now have hot water. Be careful as you feel the water temperature -- the last thing you want is to get a scald injury.
Note that scalds are an even bigger risk to kids. Every year, burn injuries land 9,000 kids in Canadian hospital ERs. Scald injuries account for about 50% of those burn-related injuries.
If the water remains cold, run your other faucets or the shower. If none produce heated water, then it’s time to contact your Calgary hot water heater experts.
4. Tepid Water
In most cases, either one of two parts of your water heater is to blame: the thermostat or the dip tube.
If your thermostat is running low on battery life, it may be misreading the water temperature. As such, it may think that the water is hot enough, when in fact, it's only lukewarm. A dead thermostat won't read the temperature at all, so you'll also end up with cold or tepid water.
You may also have a broken dip tube, the part inside the heater that sends cold water down to the heating element. Since cold water doesn't reach the bottom of the heater, the heater won't have any water to heat up.
Changing a dip tube only requires a few water heater repair tools like a wrench and a screwdriver. You need the wrench to detach the cold-water supply line from the heater. The screwdriver is for prying the broken dip tube out of its hole.
If you don't have these tools and you can’t go out to buy a new dip tube, water heater technicians can come to your rescue. It'll be an easy task for them, and they can even check your water heater for other potential issues.
5. Low Water Pressure
Clogged water supply lines are among the main causes of a weak flow of water or low water pressure. As with discoloured water, minerals may also be the culprit behind this clog formation. This is especially true if you have hard water, which, unfortunately, is the case in Calgary.
Calgary's average water hardness ranges from 11.7 to 15.2 grains per gallon (gpg). This range classifies as "hard" water, as it falls between the hard water range of 10.5 to less than 21 gpg.
Hard water, although not a health hazard, contains high amounts of calcium carbonate. Over time, these minerals can form layers of hardened deposits inside your pipes. The thicker the deposits become, the narrower your pipes’ openings will be.
This narrowing of the pipes will then result in decreased water flow and pressure.
Hard water can also leave whitish "crusts" on your water-using appliances and fixtures. These deposits can act as insulation over your appliances' heating elements. This, in turn, reduces the heating efficiency of your appliances.
Since it's a given that Calgary has hard water, then you may want to consider investing in a water softener. This way, you can prevent mineral formation from causing more water pressure issues. It's also a good idea to schedule your water line for repairs to address existing mineral build-up.
6. Inconsistent Heating
The mineral deposits caused by hard water can also cause inconsistent water temperatures. You can prevent these minerals from hardening by flushing the water tank at least once or twice a year.
To clean your water heater tank, shut off the power supply first (for your safety). Next, attach one end of a hose to the device's drain outlet and bring the other end to a floor drain or outside of your home.
Then, run one of your hot water faucets to introduce some air into your hot water tank. This will make it easier to drain the water and flush out the sediments in the tank.
To maximize your tank cleaning efforts, refill your tank with five more gallons of cold water. This will help get rid of any sediments still loosely-clinging to the sides of the tank.
7. Discoloured or Dirty Hot Water
Black water from your hot water taps or yellow water from the shower isn't always harmful. However, discoloured water does usually means your water contains excessive amounts of minerals.
Black water, for instance, might be due to magnesium mixing in with your water. Whereas yellow water is usually a sign of iron oxides -- the same minerals found in rust.
In some cases, these minerals come from old water fixtures. If you have outdated fixtures, then it may be time to replace them.
Corrosion in your water supply pipes may also be leaching these minerals into the water. Your water supply itself may also be rusty even before it reaches your home. In such situations, your best bet would be to contact your local Calgary plumbers.
Within a year, a single tap that has a leak rate of six drops a minute would have wasted 1,200 litres of water. Imagine how much more your leaky water tank that constantly stores water can waste. Punctured water supply lines that connect to your heater can also be letting water go to waste.
That said, fixing a leak in your water heater can be as simple as tightening connections. Start by checking the water lines that circulate water throughout your home. They should be secure and stable -- if not, try to fasten them with a wrench.
Continue checking the rest of your water heater's bolts, nuts, and screws. As part of your maintenance plan, perform this inspection once or twice a year.
If you still see moisture coming out of your heater after doing this, it's possible that the tank itself has a crack. If the damage is small, a short-term fix is to apply a high-quality sealant over the crack. You should still schedule your water heater for professional repairs though.
9. Filthy or Stuck Temperature and Pressure Relief Valves
As you inspect your hot water tank, be sure to pay attention to its temperature and pressure relief valve. It's a small device that has a huge safety role -- to give excess pressure from inside the tank a way to escape.
T&P valves, however, can also get clogged with dirt and grime, rendering them stuck. If this happens, the excess pressure inside the tank won't be able to leave the confines of the heater. Although rare, some water heater tanks have exploded due to this accumulated pressure.
To keep your tank's T&P valve in good condition, discharge it once or twice a year. You either only have to push or pull the lever or rotate its knob or valve. Be sure to place a bucket right under the valve though, as opening the lever will let out some water.
10. Rusty Anode Rod
Anode rods are sacrificial components of water heaters. Their purpose is to attract elements in the water that can corrode a water heater tank. As such, they usually have a life span of between three and five years.
Since you likely have hard water in your Calgary home, be sure to check the anode rod of your water heater once a year too. You'll be able to see one end of the rod from the top of your water heater tank. It looks like a tube that's either made of aluminum or magnesium.
If you see severe rusting on the rod, it likely means that the rest of it has also corroded. You'd want to replace that ASAP -- otherwise, the interior lining of your tank is at risk of corrosion.
Call Your Calgary Hot Water Heater Repair Pros When DIY Fixes Don't Work
As you can see, there's a lot of easy fixes that you can do on your own if your hot water heater isn't working right. Following a maintenance plan will also help lengthen the life of your water heater.
For more complex problems though, it's best to get in touch with a Calgary hot water heater repair service. Do the same if you're not comfortable with a DIY approach, as even a small mistake can make the issue worse.
If you need emergency services for your busted water heater, our technicians are available 24/7. Just call (403) 640-7789. Get in touch with us now so we can promptly send a team of licensed technicians to your Calgary home!