There are several things that can have an affect on hot water production. While most of the water heaters in the Kansas City area are gas fired, a small portion of them are electric. The first step in troubleshooting your water heaters lack of production is to determine the type of water heater you have. A gas unit will have a silver vent pipe that comes off the top and feeds into the flue or chimney. You should also be able to notice a black gas line that feeds into the lower portion of the unit. An electric water heater on the other hand will typically only have three connection points. The first two are connections for the water supply and hot water discharge. The other connection is a wire that may be inside a conduit tube that connects from the top of the water heater.
Troubleshooting a Gas Water Heater
If your gas water heater has stopped producing hot water or only provides 10-15 minutes of hot water the most common culprit is a broken dip tube. Replacing the dip tube on a water heater is a relatively easy repair but in most cases you should consult a licensed plumber. The dip tube is the part of the water heater that supplies the incoming water. The tube extends down to the bottom of the tank to allow for the warm water to rise to the top and the cold water to sit on the bottom of the tank. It’s important for the cold water to arrive at the bottom of the tank for 3 reasons. The first reason has to do with the location of the temperature control that tells the water heater when to kick on. If the cold water is feeding into the top, the water heater will not recognize the temperature difference nearly as quick. The second reason that a broken dip tube can cause problems it that the hot water discharge is right at the top of the water heater. So if the intake and discharge are right next to each other, the cold water will have a tendency to rush right out of the water heater before it gets a chance to be heated. The third reason is the obvious fact that the burner is at the bottom of the water heater and warm water has a tendency to rise.
Troubleshooting an Electric Water Heater
An broken or failed dip tube can also cause an electric water heater to stop producing hot water. However a much more common cause for an electric water heater failure is a bad heating element. There are two heating elements on most residential water heaters. The heating element can be checked with an ohm meter which required turning off power to the water heater. If you are not comfortable with the, call KC Plumber Pro and we can talk you through it our have one of our plumbers come out for the repair.