Everyday we get phone calls from Marin County customers with malfunctioning water heaters. Some water heaters are leaking all over the garage, some won't get hot, others won't stay hot, and others are making a loud banging noise. Short of the water heater springing a huge leak and pouring all over their floor, most customers want to know if we can just repair their water heater instead of replace it. Ask the Marin County plumbers what to do it you have any one of the following problems:
1 - Leaking water heater: A leaking water heater may not seem like a big problem, but it can quickly turn into one and ruin your floors, subfloors and walls. A leak will not go away with time so it is smart to act quickly and call a licensed plumber. One of the best ways to quickly determine if the leak might require a repair is to find out where the leak is coming from. If it is leaking from the top this could mean that the temperature and pressure (T&P) valve has failed due to excessive pressure in tank or is overheating. It could also mean the cold or hot water supplies are leaking. There is a chance that either of these issues can be repaired by a licensed plumber, assuming your water heater is relatively new and your valves and supplies aren't rusted. If they are rusted, removing them can be really tricky and many time you will have to do a full replacement. If your water heater is leaking form the bottom that means there is a serious internal problem, and chances are, you are going to need a full replacement.
2 - Water heater won't get hot / water heater won't stay hot / water heater won't stay lit: If you've tried re-lighting your water heater and it won't stay lit and the water won't get hot, the orifice could be dirty and clogged. If this isn't the issue, sometimes the thermocouple will need to be replaced. Low gas pressure or a malfunctioning gas control valve could also cause a pilot light to go out repeatedly. If replacing any one of these items doesn't repair your water heater, or repairing them causes a greater problem, than chances are it is time for a full replacement.
3 - Water heater making a banging, knocking, or rumbling noise: Often times when your water heater is making noise it is from sediment build up inside the unit. The sediment in your water heater’s tank is made up of fine loose minerals, usually calcium, from hard water. Overtime sediment sinks to the bottom of your tank where the heating element is. Water gets mixed in and trapped underneath the sediment. As your water heater’s burner heats that water, it creates steam bubbles that are violently escaping the sediment layers, causing the loud knocking or rumbling noise. Assuming your water heater isn't too old, there are no other obvious issues, and it isn't rusty or leaking, then flushing the water heater can often times solve this issue. This repair requires draining the water heater by "flushing" it and refilling it. Keep in mind, sometimes flushing the water heater won't fix the issue. If that happens then chances are it's time for a replacement.
If you encounter any of these issues with your water heater, give the pros at Bellows Plumbing, Heating & Air's Marin County branch a call, we are your local San Rafael plumbers. We will do our best to diagnose your issue and find the best solution for you. Our Marin office serves water heater repairs and replacements in Novato, San Rafael, Marinwood and Terra Linda, San Anselmo, Fairfax, Greenbrae, Corte Madera, Kentfield, Ross, Larkspur, Strawberry, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, and Sausalito.