A gas water heater can easily give you years of use without a single problem. But sooner or later, you’re bound to experience at least a minor issue. When that time comes, you may not need to call a professional plumber–if you have the right knowledge, that is. Read on to learn more about troubleshooting three common problems experienced by gas water heaters.
Hot water has a rotten or fishy smell.
All water heaters contain an anode rod whose purpose is to prevent tank corrosion. It does this by making itself a more attractive target for corrosion than the walls of your tank. Unfortunately, the aluminum and/or magnesium that make up an anode rod lead to unwanted–and stinky–side effects when certain species of anaerobic bacteria get inside your tank.
Those bacteria react with the metals present in many anode rods, thus producing ill-smelling hydrogen sulfide gas as a result. Luckily, there’s an easy way to remedy the problem. All you have to do is contact your plumber about upgrading your existing anode rod to one that contains a zinc alloy. The presence of zinc will inhibit the growth of unwanted bacteria.
Leaking water is pooling up around the outside of the water heater.
For older water heaters, a leak is often the sign of severe corrosion. Then the only option is to purchase a new unit. If your heater is still relatively young, however, the problem may be overheating. This can lead to leaks developing in the relief valve. Try reducing the temperature using your heater’s adjustment knob. If this still doesn’t solve the problem, you’ve got a strong sign that corrosion may be the culprit.
Heater produces a variety of strange sounds.
Cereal isn’t the only thing capable of snapping, crackling, and popping. Water heaters may also suffer from this odd–and potentially annoying–condition. When they do, it’s a sign that a layer of sediment has built up on the bottom of the heater. Not only is this a noisy nuisance, but it will also increase the amount of energy required to heat your tank.
You can solve the problem of unwanted noise by flushing out your water heater. While this is a fairly straightforward process, it’s vital to remember to turn the heater off well in advance of draining it. This will allow the water to cool down. Otherwise, you put yourself at risk of severe burns. Likewise, don’t forget to shut off the water supply valves to keep the tank from automatically refilling while the drain is open.