COVID-19 ADVISORY: Shepherd’s Plumbing, Heating, & Air Conditioning is BUSINESS as USUAL.Read More

Common Water Heater Problems

If you notice hot water at some times and not others, or if your water heater appears to be leaking, you might have a problem. Find out more about the most common water heater problems that homeowners face with their heating systems.

When your water heater breaks down, it’s a race between you and time before your next shower. Although there are countless types of water heaters, they usually suffer from similar issues. Equipping yourself with some basic knowledge can allow you to get your heating and cooling system back to normal in no time. 


First, know the different models of water heaters: 

  • Conventional storage water heaters. These offer a ready reservoir (storage tank) of hot water.
  • Tankless water heaters. These models heat water directly and do not have a storage tank. 
  • Solar water heaters. These utilize solar energy to provide hot water.
  • Heat pump water heaters. These models don’t directly generate heat – instead, they move heat from one place to another. 
  •  Tankless coil and indirect water heaters. These use a home’s existing space heating system to heat water. 


Before you even consult Google, turn off the power to your heater and/or its electrical components. Water heaters are typically powered by gas or electricity – find the shut off valve near the bottom of the unit. 

 Common Water Heater Problems(and The Fix)


A leak might spring up in a number of places on your water heater. Inspect the entire unit and identify all sources of leakage. Loose connections or joints or leaky valves are common minor culprits. Easily tighten joints with a wrench and replace damaged valves. 

If the leak is coming from the heater’s storage tank or heat exchanger, however, you may have a bigger problem. This can put the system in danger of corrosion. Any piece of the water heater with evidence of corrosion must be replaced for safety. 

Water Temperature Issues

Heating and cooling issues with your water heater are the most common you are likely to face. Here are the likely causes, issues, and solutions. 

If the water is too cold… Cold water could be caused by a faulty thermostat, broken heating element, or a lack of power. First, reset the circuit breaker. Then, check the heater’s power switches to make sure that they are on and the power indicators are lit up. Finally, check the thermostat to ensure it’s getting power. 

If the water is too hot… Your thermostat is likely set too high. Check the water heater’s owner manual for the ideal thermostat temperature. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting it at 120 degrees Fahrenheit for a balance of heat and energy efficiency. 

Dirty or Discolored Water

Unfortunately, discolored water coming from your water heater could be a sign of a serious problem. The most common cause of this symptom is corrosion or rust inside the water tank. In this case, a tank replacement is the only solution.

Basic troubleshooting on your own might not be enough to fix your water heater, but you still have a few options. If your heater is over ten years old, it might be time for a full water heater replacement. However, if it still has a decent amount of life left in it, a plumbing professional will be able to get it back in working condition.


Here at Shepherd’s Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning, we are committed to providing you with plumbing services that last. Give us a call today at (650)263-6986 or visit our contact us page for any questions or general inquiries about our reputable plumbing services. 

 Shepherd's Plumbing Heating and Air Conditioning © 2022 All Rights Reserved. Website Design by the SEO Company Leads Ngin

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?