When our EC Plumbing professionals are on site for a water heater repair, you’d be surprised how often it turns into a consult about other plumbing issues. Our customers know we’ve got the experience to answer their questions with solid answers, and since the opportunity is there, they speak up. We’re glad to offer information, answer their questions, and help homeowners in our Meridian, ID service area keep their home’s plumbing in great shape. Sometimes we do use the opportunity as a chance to schedule services before trouble hits, and we’re glad to explain carefully why that’s a very good thing. Here are the kinds of questions that customers typically ask, and how we respond to help them understand their plumbing and its needs better.

“What is an Anode Rod?”

As soon as we mention water heater repairs involving the anode rod, people are curious about what it is. It’s certainly not obvious how a piece of metal that doesn’t heat the water plays a role in a hot water heater. It’s especially confusing if they have read somewhere that it has to be the right type of metal for the job. Our water heater repair technicians explain to them that this is an essential part of your water heater because it helps prolong the life of the tank, and so the entire unit. The anode rod releases some of its metal in a chemical reaction that helps to avoid corrosion of the metal tank, and so when it needs replacing in a few years, it’s important to do so, avoiding accelerated corrosion of the tank and sooner replacement or, in worst cases, replacement plus cleanup if the tank ruptures or leaks. Types of metals used mostly correspond to the chemicals in the water, what is often called “hard” or “soft” water.

“Why Is There Plenty of Hot Water Sometimes, and Not Other Times, When I’m the Only One at Home?”

Many hot water heaters have two thermostat and heating units, one for the upper section and one for the lower. When one or the other fails, the results can be confusing. There may be plenty of hot water to start, followed by a sudden unexpected dropoff in temperature, or there may be cold water to start, followed by a sudden supply of hot water. It all depends on which section of the tank is being used. Hot water heater repair technicians can test the thermostats and heating elements and determine where the fault lies.

“Why Is the Hot Water Not as Hot Sometimes?”

The temperature of the water can vary depending on how much of the supply has already been drawn, with lower temperatures as the replacement water is being heated up to the right temperature. If there’s a long pipe run from the water heater to the faucet, there may be variations in the temperature until water is being drawn directly from the tank rather than water that has been sitting in the pipe. Our water heater repair team can help with insulating pipes if that’s the right solution for you.

Another reason that your water can become less hot even after you run it a while is simply because someone has bumped the controls, especially if the water heater is in a space that’s too tight. Checking the setting and restoring it to the proper value should solve that problem.

“Speaking of the Temperature Setting, Can I Turn It Up?”

There’s an ideal “zone” that your hot water repair team will use when setting your heater’s temperature. The setting needs to be above the temperature where the water is hot enough for proper hygiene like hand washing, yet low enough that everyone in the house can run and use hot water without scalding themselves. Some people will set the temperature too low to save on energy, or too high to get hotter water for their own preference, but there are better solutions for them. One is to use local in-line water heaters in bathrooms or kitchens where you want instant hot water at the temperature you prefer. That will also help save energy as you’ll usually wind up running less water from the hot water heater until you get the temperature you want.

“What Are Those Popping and Bubbling Noises Coming from the Hot Water Heater?”

Bubbles can accumulate as the water is being heated from the bottom, and rising through any sediment that has accumulated in the tank. This can be a sign that your water heater repair person should check for sediment issues.

“Why Is That Open Pipe Running Down the Side? Is it Leaking?”

The pressure relief valve is a critical part of your hot water heater’s safety features. It helps to release pressure if the tank pressure or temperature rises too far. It’s important that your water heater repair person checks this valve during maintenance visits, both to make sure that it is ready to release if needed, and to make sure that it’s not defective and releasing when not needed. You may experience a small amount of water discharged from the pipe, but larger amounts are a sign that a water heater repair is needed to avoid flooding.

“Why Do Water Heaters Flood the Basement Sometimes?”

There are three main reasons that you may have to clean up after your water heater: the pressure relief valve is either leaking or operating properly and discharging excessive pressure, the tank is damaged and is leaking, and a combination of overpressure and a weakened tank has resulted in a rupture or, rarely, an explosion.

Here for Your Questions and All Your Plumbing Needs in Meridian, ID

We’re EC Plumbing, serving Meridian, ID and the surrounding area with expert water heater repair and other plumbing services. Our experts are friendly, respectful, and clean, with plenty of helpful answers. We’re glad to take your questions and provide both answers and the service you need. Give us a call today.

Photo By GOCMEN at istock