As we reach the coldest weeks of the year, now is not the time to find yourself without hot water. So what is preventing your home’s water from getting hot? Here is a look at common causes of unwanted cold water, brought to you by the professional plumbers at Bonney.
Cold Weather and Water Heater Troubles
Cold weather naturally requires your water heater to work harder. The water entering your water heater will be colder, resulting in a wider temperature gap for your unit to bridge. Your winter water heater will also exist in a colder environment, which impacts the unit’s internal temperature. Collectively, cold weather may leave you finding that your water doesn’t feel as hot as it did in more moderate or warm seasons. A simple increase in your water heater temperature can help. Here are some tips from the plumbing experts at Bonney on raising your water temperature:
- Only raise the water heater temperature by one notch—A to B on your gas valve should do the trick.
- For safety purposes, make sure that your water heater temperature doesn’t exceed 120°F. This is especially crucial if your house has any vulnerable members—including young children, elderly adults, or those with sensitive skin.
- Contrary to popular beliefs, a blanket will not protect your water heater from the impacts of winter weather. Your unit is already protected by 2 inches of foam insulation. Additionally, if your unit was to acquire a leak, the blaket might prevent you from seeing it and gettting the issue resolved.
- After the winter weather has passed, be sure to turn your water heater back down again. Adjusted water heater temperatures during the warmer seasons may leave you with scalding water.
- If you need help or insight when adjusting your water heater, contact the plumbers at Bonney for support.
Broken Water Tank Dip Tube
Have you ever wondered how your tank water heater can provide your home with hot water as it continuously refills with cold water? Your dip tube is to thank for this convenience. The dip tube directs cold water input to the bottom of your water heater tank, while the hot water naturally rises. Your plumbing system distributes the water from the top of your tank, which helps you access as much warm water as possible. When your dip tube is broken, the cold water will infiltrate the top of your tank. This may result in slightly cooler water, frigid temperatures, or anywhere in between—depending on the severity of the break. A professional plumber can replace your dip tube to restore the functioning of your unit.
Sealed Air Intake Combustion Screen
Gas-fueled water heaters may stop working when their air intake combustion screen becomes plugged. This screen is designed to facilitate the combustion process while keeping away harmful dust, dirt, debris, and other safety hazards. When the screen becomes blocked or sealed, this starves your water heater of oxygen and shuts down your unit’s flame.
Maintenance is one of the biggest problems causing sealed air intake combustion screens. Screen cleaning requires the removal of the burner and work on internal water heater components, so this is best left to the professionals. While this may seem like a complicated process, the alternative is often a permanently damaged water heater.
Depending on your unit and its state, sealed intake screens may not be repairable or replaceable. Worse even, poorly maintained combustion screens can void your warranty, as manufacturers consider a dirty screen to be lack of mandatory care. To prevent damage, protect your unit, and keep your warranty in place, your air intake combustion screen should be cleaned yearly by a professional.
Shower Issues Causing Cold Water
Have you found that hot water runs in your kitchen but not in your bathroom? Your cold water troubles could be caused by an issue specific to your shower. Showers used to have two separate handles—one for hot water and another for cold. Modern showers use single-handle valve cartridges to regulate your water temperature. Unfortunately, these single-handle systems can be prone to issues—especially in areas with hard water. Mineral buildup clogs your valve cartridge, which prevents you from tapping into your warm water.
Alternatively, you might be experiencing a water crossover issue. This happens when the seals regulating your cold and hot water input break or wear out. This allows the cold water to overtake the hot water before being delivered through your shower. A professional plumber will be able to create a repair plan tailored to the issues your shower is experiencing. They may need to go through a process of elimination to actually find the problem, as the shower isn’t the only place this issue can emerge.
Winds and Storm Water Heater Impacts
The Sacramento area has been seeing 30-50 mph winds recently, which can cause some hot water troubles. For water heater units placed in the garage or near any sources of air infiltration, these winds could blow out your pilot light. In these cases, a routine re-start after the storm could restore your water heater functioning. Otherwise, you may have a larger issue on your hands.
Potential Water Heater Troubles
A wide variety of potential issues can impact your water heater functioning. Your water heater is a network of parts, pieces, and systems. One small disruption in this process can severely impact your home’s hot water. Here is a look at a few of the most common alternative issues facing water heaters:
- A slab leak could be draining your hot water heater (often indicated by moisture in your home or a spinning water meter when your water is not running).
- Standard tank water heaters could have a defective part on the gas control valve.
- Water heaters might develop a failing pilot light assembly.
- Electric issues such as a blown fuse, tripped breaker, or electrical connection problem can shut off your water heater—especially electric and tankless units.
- Hard water or poor water quality could disable your sensors with rust or mineral buildup.
Water heater issues often require a diagnostic visit from a professional plumber. Once an expert identifies the problem preventing your water from getting hot, they can work with you to develop a repair or replacement plan.
Bonney: Water Heater Experts in the Sacramento Area
When you find that your water is not getting as hot as it should, the plumbers at Bonney and Boyd are here to help you. We offer skilled and comprehensive water heater replacement, installation, diagnostics, repair, and maintenance services. Bonney plumbers proudly serve homes and businesses in the greater Sacramento area, including Rosemont, Carmichael, Citrus Heights, Folsom, Rancho Cordova, Fair Oaks, and beyond. You can make your appointment here online or give us a call today to get started!