How to Test Your Water Heater for Problems

How to Test Your Water Heater for Problems

What do you do if your gas water heater isn’t working? Should you call in a plumber? Before you do, here’s how to test your water heater for problems:

  • Turn it on — This may sound silly, but it may really be as simple as that! You may have forgotten to turn on the water heater the last time you turned it off. Turn the knob to PILOT and see if the pilot light is on. If not, the heater needs to be turned on.
  • Use your nose — If the pilot light doesn’t turn on, it may be a sign that the gas in your tank has run out. But what if you just refilled your tank? Smell the air, and see if you can’t detect a hint of propane. If you smell gas, it’s a sign that there’s a leak. The leak will cause your tank to drain, and you’ll end up running out of gas far too quickly. Take note: Gas leaks are VERY dangerous. Do not try to light the tank, but turn off the gas and call your utility company.
  • Switch it to “On” –– Once the pilot light ignites, turn the knob to the ON position. The burner should ignite. If it doesn’t, it may mean that there is something wrong with the burner, the thermocouple, or some other internal part of the heater. This is when you call in your plumber or the utility company.

DO NOT try to fix the hot water heater yourself! The internal parts are fairly delicate, and you can do irreparable damage to the appliance if you mess around. Let a plumber or the gas company do the repairs for you. It’s worth the pricey service to get your water heater  working again!

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