Water Heater Problems

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Water Smells Like Rotten Eggs

Possibility #1: Faulty anode rod


Your anode rod, or sacrificial rod, is there to prolong the life of you water heater. It does this by sacrificing itself to deterioration and corrosion - hence the name. Once this goes bad, it can react differently with your water and cause a horrible smell. This can be solved by simply replacing the rod.

Level of difficulty: Moderate
Estimated time taken: 15 minutes - 2 hours
Tools required:

  • Large socket set
  • Full sized ratchet
  • A large pipe for leverage (possibly)
  • Large bucket

Step 1: Locate your anode rod

  1. Check on top of your water heater
  2. There should be a large nut, that is your anode rod
  3. If you do not see the large nut, you may need to remove the top cover of your water heater to gain access.

Step 2: Turn off power and drain water

  1. Kill the power
  2. Drain about 6 inches of the water into your bucket. You want the weight of the water in the tank.

Step 3: Remove anode rod

  1. Find the correct side socket and remove the anode rod by turning counter clockwise
  2. This may require a lot of force and maybe a large pipe for leverage
  3. You also may want a friend there to help

Step 4: Install new anode rod

  1. The same you way you took the old one out
  2. Inset the rod and turn clock wise
  3. Tighten with ratchet

Water Leak Around Heater


A water heater leak may seem just like a small inconvenience, but it can quickly turn into a big expensive problem if you don't take care of it immediately.

Level of difficulty: Moderate
Estimated time taken: 15 minutes - 2 hours
Tools required:

  • Paper towels

Step 1: Determine the source of the leak

  1. Wipe the puddle up with a towel
  2. Try to find the leak by simple observation
  3. Check all hoses, fittings, valves, anything and everything that even looks like water might run through it
  4. Check areas around the water heater. Are there any water pipes above that could be dripping?
  5. If you can't find the leak, put a paper towel or two down where the water accumulated
  6. Check on this every hour to see if the paper towel is wet. If it is, chances are that your water heater is leaking.

Step 2: Shut it down

  1. If you have found your water heater to be the source of your leak, shut it off at the breaker box.
  2. If you have a gas water heater, turn your switch to off on the water heater itself

Step 3: Kill the water to the heater

  1. On top of your water heater should be a shut off valve
  2. Turn your valve clockwise until it is in the off position
  3. If for some reason you can not access or find this, shut off your main water supply from the meter

Step 4: Drill down on the leak

  1. Check your pressure valve. Inspect the inlet and outlet and see if any drips are forming. You can also test your pressure valve here.
  2. Check the cold water inlet and the hot water outlet connections. Sometimes you just need to tighten these to fix your leak.
  3. Inspect the heater drain valve. This is near the bottom of the tank. Make sure it is completely closed.
  4. The tank itself is the cause of a water heat most of the time. Make sure the tank is completely dry and check all around the tank for any cracks or drips forming. Check the very bottom of the tank for any signs of drips that you can trace to their point of origin.

Step 5: Make the repairs or replace it

  • Most of the problems can be repaired yourself unless your tank has a crack in it. If your tank has a crack, it will need to be replaced.

Example Video:

Pilot light not lit

Example Video:

Not Enough Hot Water

Rust Colored Water

Possibility #1: Sediment Buildup

No Hot Water

Possibility #1: Faulty Electric Thermostat

Possibility #2: No Power to Heating Elements

Possibility #3: Faulty Upper Heating Element