How to Troubleshoot Your Water Heater

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When troubleshooting a hot water heater, first identify if it's a gas or electric heater; then, check the pilot light on a gas water heater and the circuit breakers on an electric heater. Fix minor problems on a gas or electric water heater using this free video from a home repair specialist on maintaining and fixing houses.

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Video Transcript

Hi I'm Tim Gipson and I'm going to talk to you about how to troubleshoot your water heater. Now there are two basic types of water heaters that are in use primarily. There is this type which is a gas water heater and then there is also an electric water heater. So we're going to talk about the gas water heater first. If you do not have hot water there are some things that you can check just to make sure. Now the first thing is we want to come over here and there is this cover plate right here that we can remove. Now most of the water heaters operate off a pilot light and there is a small window once you remove the cover plate that you can look down in here and what you should see is you should see a glow down in there. Now if you do not see a glow then that means that your pilot light has gone out. This particular water heater is equipped with an igniter so if that happens then what you want to do is you want to rotate your control knob to the off position and you want to let it set for probably about 30 seconds. After you do that then you want to rotate it back to the pilot position and the knobs are clearly marked where it has a pilot and an on. Now once you rotate that to the pilot position and line it up with the front there is a cut out on this that allows you to depress this red button. So depress the red button and then what you want to do is you want to snap the igniter until you can look down in the inspection window and see that glow. Now once that happens then we will rotate the unit back to the on position and then you want to again check and make sure that your pilot light is on down below. Once you do that particularly if the water has been on you should automatically hear your igniter come on. Now with an electric water heater what commonly happens is that you may throw a breaker so then you want to locate your main breaker box and you want to locate the circuit breakers for your electric water heater and it should be clearly labeled in there. You just want to double check those so you can pop those off and then reset them and then most of the time that's what you have to do for your electric water heaters. Now beyond that if those simple things do not work to get your hot water heater working you may have a more serious problem or you may have a malfunctioning water heater and that is something you can either take care of yourself or call a plumbing professional to check out for you. So I'm Tim Gipson and that's how you troubleshoot your water heater.

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