Too Hot to Handle: 5 Common Problems for Hot Water Systems


With winter just around the corner, you must be able to keep your hot water systems in tip-top shape. Ensuring your hot water system is well maintained and functioning well will save you from the bone-chilling cold showers in winter. Most of the time, the hot water systems are the most underrated and often neglected appliance that we have in our homes.

Modern hot water systems can be used on both a seasonal and daily basis. Nothing beats a long, hot, and relaxing shower after a long day at work. In comparison, nothing is more frustrating than looking forward to a hot shower, and then you realize that your water heater system is busted. Like any other appliance, water heaters have common problems.

Leaking From the Bottom or Top

Having leaks coming from your hot water system is a pretty common problem. Leaks often happen at the base or bottom of your water heater. If left unattended, a leak can lead to more severe problems for your hot water system. Leaks can also be attributed to worn out valves or gaskets. These valves can be the T&P valve, pressure relief valve, or the drain valve.

In some cases, the actual tank may be the one that is leaking. If this happens, there is no other alternative but to cut your losses and replace hot water system in your house. A leaking tank can result from low maintenance wherein debris, and sediments build up inside the tank. This debris and sediments may lead to the tank rusting prematurely.

If your leak is coming from the top side, the best thing to do is find the leak source. The first thing to do is to turn off the power source for safety purposes. Next is to make sure that you have enough water pressure for you to find the leak. If you cannot visually find the leak, The next thing to do is to wrap the pipes in tissue paper and check the wet spots. 

Little To No Hot Water

Nothing is more frustrating than waiting for your water to warm up, and then when you turn the knob on, cold water comes streaming down. Before you scream in frustration, you need to check the power source first. For electric hot water systems, you will need to check the circuit breaker. For gas type hot water systems, proceed to check the thermostat.

The thermostat’s limiter might have been tripped because it is faulty, or the water might have been too hot. If the power source is not the culprit, this may indicate more severe problems. The problem may lie in the internal heating elements in your hot water systems. If this is the case, then it is time to replace that hot water system.

The Water is Too Hot

Being exposed to scalding hot water is dangerous. Not only will it lead to burns, but it can also cause frustration to the homeowner. But you need not worry as this problem has a simple and easy fix. You need to check the thermostat. The case may be that the thermostat is set too high. A simple adjustment on the thermostat knob might fix the problem.

If you already adjusted the thermostat and it did not fix the problem, then you might need to replace that faulty thermostat. In some cases, sediments can build up in your water tanks that may lead to thermostat malfunction. A simple fix to this problem is to clean your water tank and remove the sediments.

When checking the thermostat and other parts of your hot water system, safety is the utmost priority. You must turn off the power to avoid being electrocuted. After turning off the power, you can check the wirings using a non-contact voltage tester. Also, you need to inspect the safety guard and insulation. 

The Water Has Color and an Undesirable Odor

Seeing rust-colored running water can cause chills to run down your spine. The combination of rust-colored water and a foul smell is more disgusting. If you see that your running water is rusty colored, the problem may lie in the anode rod corroding and rusting away. The anode rod is responsible for making sure that rust does not build up in your tank.

In some cases, the tank itself may be rusting away. To avoid this problem, you must ensure that you periodically maintain your home’s hot water system. Ensuring that your hot water system is well maintained will save you money in the long run. If the rust and corrosion are left unchecked, this can result in replacing the whole system.

The Hot Water System is Making Odd Noises

Like any other household appliance, your hot water system can make noises. But what you need to know is what sound is typical, and what is unusual. If your hot water system frequently makes odd noises, this might be a sign of clogging. Once you hear banging and hissing sounds, you can contact your local plumber to inspect your hot water system.

Strange noises from your hot water system can also mean that debris and sediments have built up at the bottom of your tank. You can flush and replace the water in your tanks to clear the sediments out. 


As we all know, you need to take care of your hot water system if you want the most bang for your buck. A well maintained hot water system will have more longevity and will have fewer chances to fail. It is a must to invest in the maintenance of our household appliances.