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Water Heater Temperature Problems and How to Solve Them

When it comes to plumbing problems that are just the worst to deal with, losing hot water in the shower has to be number one by a mile. For some of us even after getting the issue fixed, there’s still that slight fear that it could reappear, and all of a sudden you’re back in that arctic freeze. We don’t want that to happen! Here are some common causes of water heater temperature problems and how you can fix them.

Common Causes of Water Heater Temperature Problems

1. Pilot light issues

Your gas water heater’s pilot light is what begins the combustion process that produces hot water. If your pilot light isn’t lit, there’s nothing to ignite the fuel source, and hence no way to get your water hot. If you have noticed issues with your pilot light, you may try relighting it (carefully, and only after consulting your water heater’s user manual). If you would feel more comfortable having a professional troubleshoot the issue, or if your pilot light won’t stay lit after relighting it, call your local plumber.

2. Your water heater’s thermostat is faulty

If your pilot light is perfectly fine but your water still isn’t getting up to your desired temperature, the issue may lie with the thermostat. This may be the problem you’re dealing with if:

  • You have no hot water at all
  • Your water isn’t getting hot enough
  • You get only a small amount of hot water before the tap runs cold again

Luckily, this problem can easily be repaired by replacing the thermostat.

3. Your water heater has reached the end of its usable life

Water heaters don’t last forever – in fact, gas water heaters typically only last about 8 to 10 years before they need to be replaced. If your water heater is on the older side and isn’t providing you with reliable hot water, it’s time to consider purchasing a new one. This is especially true if you have noticed signs of tank corrosion, including rust-colored hot water, flecks of rust, and bad-smelling hot water.

4. Your water heater is too small for your needs

One of the most underrated and overlooked aspects of any home infrastructure is getting the correct sizing for your home and amount of use. Nowhere is this more apparent than with storage tank water systems. If you’re not familiar, these systems work by heating water and storing it so it is readily available when you turn the hot water faucet. As you could probably imagine, the bigger your storage tank the more energy it takes to heat. This is why a 100 gallon tank is not right for most families. All that energy will go to waste since you won’t be able to use all that water. Unfortunately, sometimes installers move a little too far in the opposite direction and make your tank too small. This is when you can have major issues with water going cold in the shower.

Luckily, there is a solution that doesn’t require you to get an entirely new tank system. Instead, you can get a smaller tankless unit that can work solely on heating the water for an appliance or two. Most commonly, this would be for your shower since it uses the most water. Because a tankless system can be added onto an existing tank system, you won’t have to worry about a majorly expensive replacement for your storage tank unit. 

If you need a new water heater or just a repair, we have your covered! Fill out an online contact form or call us at (616) 319-2121. We take the health of our technicians and customers seriously. We’ve taken steps to keep you safe while we work on your home.


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