How to Troubleshoot Common Shower Heater Issues

Water heaters are essential to the everyday cleanliness of your home, including showers, dishwashing, and laundry. However, your shower heater might start experiencing issues that prevent it from functioning as intended.

Several problems can affect the performance of your water heater for the bathroom. Fortunately, many of these problems can be resolved without needing to replace the unit. Below is a list of common water heater problems you can fix:

Water Heater is not Heating

One of the most common issues concerning water heaters is cold water emerging from the spout. The root cause of the problem will depend on whether your water heater is electric or gas-powered.

Electric Water Heater

When your electric water heater is not producing hot water, it might be due to a power disturbance. Check the breaker if it has unexpectedly tripped, then reset the circuit, and your heater should operate normally. Otherwise, inspect the heating element to see if it needs repairs or replacement.

Gas Water Heater

Check the pilot light of your gas water heater and ensure it is turned on. If it is not, the temperature will drop and freeze the lines. On one hand, if the pilot light is fine and the lines are not frozen, yet the water remains cold, have a professional assess the unit.

Leaking Water Heater

A leaking water heater can be attributed to a number of reasons, including the following:

  • Loose Drain Valve – The drain valve is used every time the tank is emptied. Over time, it could loosen and cause leaks. If tightening the valve does not resolve the leaks, consider a replacement.
  • Pressure Valve Failure – Old, damaged, or incorrectly installed temperature and pressure release valves are highly likely to fail. Have it replaced as soon as possible to avoid bigger problems.
  • Loose Inlet and Outlet Connections – Loose inlets and outlets are the easiest to fix, requiring only some tightening.

Foul Odor

Have you experienced taking a bath and being greeted by water smelling rather foul? Your plumbing or water heater might cause pungent water.

Usually, foul smells come from stagnant water sitting in your shower heater. Try turning the cold water on. If the stench disappears, then the problem is with your heater. 

To combat foul smells in your water heater, it is vital to flush the unit regularly. Flushing reduces bacteria, mineral, and sediment build-up, keeping your water heater in good health and preventing unwanted odors.

To flush your heater, follow the steps below:

  1. Shut off the heater
  2. Close the cold water valve
  3. Let the heater sit
  4. Connect a garden hose to the heater’s drain valve
  5. Turn the hot faucet on
  6. Open the drain valve
  7. Turn the cold faucet on
  8. Close the unit’s drain valve and remove the garden hose
  9. Fill the tank
  10. Turn the water heater on

The key to preventing issues within your water heater is proper maintenance. Keep it a habit to flush your unit regularly, set the right temperatures, and check the components for signs of wear and tear. If need be, have a professional inspect your heater’s health and recommend repairs.