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The Most Common Hot Water Heater Problems

The Most Common Hot Water Heater Problems

In any household, a functioning hot water heater is essential. You probably don’t even realize every time your hot water heater kicks into gear. But, without it, you wouldn’t get to enjoy a hot shower on a freezing day here in Loveland, Colorado!

Unfortunately, there are many types of problems that can affect your home’s hot water heater. Whether you own an electric or gas hot water heater, a time may come when your hot water heater isn’t operating properly. When this happens, it’s important to enlist the help of your Loveland HVAC experts to get it back on track. Otherwise, you could be facing ice-cold water until the hot water heater is repaired or replaced. 

Understanding common indicators that your hot water heater isn’t working properly can help you pinpoint future issues early on. The sooner that you can spot and take care of a water heater problem, the lower your risk will be for lasting water heater problems. While many different makes and models of hot water heaters are available, the same issues tend to arise for all of them. 


Water leaks are a common problem for hot water heaters. There are several different causes of hot water heater leaks. It’s possible that:

  • The water tank is leaking. 
  • The water pressure is incorrect. 
  • The temperature and pressure relief valve are malfunctioning. 
  • A valve is stuck.
  • The hot water heater is overheating. 
  • A heating element bolt is loose. 
  • A gasket isn’t working. 
  • A close-by plumbing connection is leaking. 

If you notice a hot water leak, the first step to take is to identify any plumbing connections that are clearly loose, then tighten them. This should lessen the leaking. Just be careful not to tighten the connections too much, as this can also cause problems. 

There may also be loose heating element bolts that need tightening. But, if the heating element continues to leak after these loose bolts are tightened, you should have a Loveland HVAC professional check it out and most likely have the gasket replaced. 

Hot water heater storage tanks can develop corrosion over time from the inside. So, if the leak is coming from the storage tank, your hot water heater is likely at the end of its lifespan. 

Problems With Water Temperature

Problems with water temperature can be frustrating and uncomfortable, but they’re also quite common. There are multiple water temperature issues that can arise with hot water heaters, including:

  • Warm (not hot) water

If you’re waiting a long time for your water to heat up and it never reaches a hot enough temperature, there are multiple problems that could be at hand. For one, the water heater’s heating element may be malfunctioning, as could the thermostat. Your water tank may also be too small for your home’s needs. Or, the hot and cold connections could be crossed. It’s easy to check for a crossed connection: simply shut off the water supply, then switch on a hot water faucet. You likely have a crossed connection if water still comes out of the faucet. 

  • Cold water

A malfunctioning thermostat, heating element, or a shortage of power can lead to cold water from your water heater. 

  • Extremely hot water

If the water from your hot water heater is too hot, your thermostat setting may simply be too high. This is the most common reason for this problem. 


Homeowners that are having trouble with their hot water heaters may complain of a smell like rotten eggs whenever the water is running. Sulfate bacteria can grow inside of the hot water tank, typically when warm water remains stagnant in the tank for too long. For those with well water, this problem can also be caused by bacteria inside of the well water due to a lack of chlorine treatment. 

The rotten egg smell may also come from your hot water heater if a magnesium anode rod and water softener are both in the water heater. The magnesium will start to deteriorate because of the soft water, leading to a sulfur smell. This scenario, however, is less likely than sulfate bacteria growth in the tank.

To schedule Loveland HVAC maintenance for a hot water heater issue, contact JM Heating today.

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