Water Heater Repair Instructions
GE, Rheem, Rudd, Kenmore, A.O. Smith, State, Rinni, American




Water Heater Troubleshooting


Water Heater Troubleshooting  

Finding Water Heater Repair Instructions, Manuals, Diagrams, Specifications and Troubleshooting Guides 

Finding water heater repair, instructions, manuals, diagrams and specifications and water heater troubleshooting guides is easier when you know the water heater’s manufacturer, or the water heater’s brand name. Some of the more popular water heater models are A O Smith water heaters, GE water heaters, Rheem water heaters, Whirlpool water heaters, Rinnai tankless water heaters, Navien tankless water heaters, State water heaters and Lochinvar water heaters. This articles primarily centered on tank-type water heaters.  


Every water heater is required to have a nameplate with the brand name, manufacture, and specific code and rating capacities. Most water heaters will also have a 1-800 phone number to call for warranty, guaranty and water heater problems located somewhere on the tank. If you do not find the phone number for the water heater’s manufacture, you can always look for their website or local authorized service representative in a phone book. Just look under Water Heater Repair. To locate a specific type of repair or water Service Company, type in the kind of water heater have, Gas water heater repair, Electric water heater repair, Tankless water heater repair or Solar water heater repair…etc.  


Finding Water Heater Repair and Replacement Parts 

Finding water heater repair and water-heater replacement parts is not always so easy.  Electric water heater repair and replacement parts are at most hardware stores, home centers and online retailers. Residential electric hot water heater repair parts are generally generic in by nature.  New high efficiency, water heater parts like the ones for hybrid electric water heaters will only be available from their respective manufacturers until there is a need in the market place.  


Hot water heater parts for gas hot water heaters are harder to find and often-difficult purchase. Many wholesalers will not sell gas repair parts or equipment to none licensed nonprofessionals. They feel there is a safety risk involved. However, there are online retailers whom do not see a need to limit their water heater parts sales. This is good for us, not so good for water heater companies.  



Gas Water Heater Troubleshooting 


Not enough Hot Water: 

Calcium and other mineral buildup on a gas water heater control-valve thermostat probe will limit the heat detectable. You can clean the thermostat by removing the control valve and soaking the probe in a tall glass of white distilled vinegar and a little backing soda. Do not immerse the control valve itself; you will ruin it. Soak it for about an hour, and then rinse will with tap water before replacing. 


Pilot light will not stay lit: 

The most common issue with pilot lights is the thermocouple. The thermocouple is the thin copper wire, that when heated at its tip, creates a small electric charge that opens the magnetic safety valve inside the main gas control. Gas, water heater thermocouples do fail from time to time and need replaced. Older water heaters with accessible burner chamber doors are the easiest to work on. New water heaters are required to have sealed inner chamber doors and are not readily accessible. Only certified brand technicians should remove these doors. Each time the doors opened, you must replace an airtight seal. Failure to replace the seal could lead to carbon monoxide leaking from the water heater causing carbon monoxide poisoning.  


The water heaters gas control valves and thermostats can also go bad. Replacing the control valve is just as critical a safety concern.  If the pilot tube, and main burner tube, is not attached to the control valve correctly, gas leaks can occur. 


Electric Water Heater Troubleshooting 


Trouble shooting electric water heaters requires a bit of electric know how. Learning how to use a voltmeter, or multi-meter and becoming acquainted with your home electric system is most important when fixing an electric water heater. Failure to follow safe electrical practices can cause injuries and property damage.  


When troubleshooting an electric water heater, keep in mind, there are only a few parts to its operating system: the heating element(s), thermostat(s), the main wiring connection junction, anode rod(s), water connections, T&PR valve, drain valve and the tank.  


The most honest recommendation when repairing an electric water heater is this. Replace the thermostat(s), and the element(s), both upper and lower, if applicable, at the same time. Replacing one element or one thermostat of an electric water heater at a time causes a mismatch in the operating capacity of each part. Kind of like only replacing one battery in and electric device, it puts more of a strain on the older parts and causes premature failure. This leads to more frequent and costly repairs.  Replacing all the parts at one time will help prevent future hot water heater problems and unnecessary water heater maintenance. 


Water Heater Leaking


Water heater leaks are also an issue when troubleshooting a hot water heater. In most cases, you will need to replace the water heater. However, there are times when the leak is no coming directly from the water heater’s tank. Leaks can also occur at a number of the water heaters connections. Before you replace your water heater, take the time to check of these locations: 


Temperature and Pressure Relief valve (TP&R)- The brass safety valve usually located on the top, or near the top of water heater. 

Gas Water Heater Control Valve -The square silver box located on the lower front of the water heater.


Water Inlets and Outlets - the 2 openings or threaded nipples located on the top or sides of the tank. These opens are sometimes color coded with red and blue makings.


Anode Rod -The anode rod is a long metal bar that extends into the tank to prevent premature corrosion, this also extends the life of the water heater. Although, water-heater anode rods are located in the outlet, or hot side, of the water heater, some install separately. 

Drain Valve- The drain valve is located down towards the bottom on every water heater. Less expensive water heaters come with plastic drain valves, while upper end models are equipped with brass. 


Heating Elements -Electric water heaters have one or two water heating elements bolted or screwed into the top side or bottom side of the tank. Commercial hot water heaters have as many as nine+ separate water heating elements. Each of these elements can leak from internal defects. 



All of these water heater parts are susceptible to leaking from corrosion, material defects and natural causes. The most common leaks occur at the threads, where each of these screws into the water heater tank. Some are easier to inspect visually then others, depending on the water heaters construction.  


If you are not comfortable, work on or performing maintenance on your water heater, please contact a licensed, insured and bonded professional.