Identifying and Solving Common Water Heater Issues in Your Home

water heater, water heater issues, Birmingham

A reliable and efficient water heater is essential for a comfortable home, providing hot water for daily chores like cooking, cleaning, and showering. However, like any other home appliance, water heaters can develop problems that disrupt their functionality or reduce their efficiency. 

As the top plumbing service provider in Birmingham and the surrounding areas of Bessemer, Hoover, and Fultondale, Craftsman Plumbing Inc is here to guide you through the common issues that homeowners face with their water heaters and how to address these problems effectively.

This informative blog will explore the most prevalent water heater issues, such as insufficient hot water, leaks, strange noises, and discolored or smelly water. We’ll explain how to diagnose and fix these problems to ensure a steady supply of hot water in your home and extend the lifespan of your water heater. Furthermore, we will discuss instances when professional plumbing services, like those offered by Craftsman Plumbing Inc, are necessary for addressing more complex or hazardous water heater problems.

Having served the Birmingham community and its neighboring areas for over 25 years, we understand the vital role that a functioning water heater plays in your day-to-day life. Our goal is to provide you with the knowledge, tools, and professional services necessary to keep your water heater in top condition. With our customer-focused approach, we aim to deliver honest, reliable, and high-quality plumbing services that surpass your expectations.

So, let’s dive into the world of water heater maintenance and troubleshooting, and learn how to keep your water heater running at peak efficiency. By following this guide, you can prevent small issues from becoming more significant problems and enjoy the luxury of an uninterrupted hot water supply. And remember, when in doubt, the experts at Craftsman Plumbing Inc are always available to assist you with any concerns or questions related to your plumbing needs.

Insufficient Hot Water Supply

One of the most common complaints homeowners have is running out of hot water during showers or while performing household chores. Here are some potential reasons behind a limited hot water supply:

  1. Thermostat Settings: Your water heater’s thermostat might be set too low. Try adjusting it to a higher temperature setting (but not exceeding 120°F to prevent scalding).
  2. Damaged Heating Elements: In electric water heaters, malfunctioning heating elements can lead to a reduced hot water supply. Check for continuity using a multimeter and replace any faulty elements.
  3. Sediment Buildup: Sediment accumulation inside the tank can reduce the capacity and disrupt the heating process. This issue can be resolved by periodically flushing the tank to remove the sediment buildup.

Leaks from the Water Heater

Leaking water heaters are not only a nuisance but can also lead to significant water damage. Here’s what you should do if you notice a leak around your water heater:

  1. Identify the Source: Check the connections to the tank, temperature and pressure relief (T&P) valve, drain valve, and heating elements. If you spot a leak around any of these components, they might need tightening or replacement.
  2. Corroded Tank: If the leak is from the tank itself, you might be dealing with a corroded or damaged water heater tank. In this case, the entire unit may need to be replaced.
  3. Call a Professional: If you are unable to pinpoint the leak’s source or require assistance in repairing or replacing components, call a trusted plumbing service like Craftsman Plumbing Inc.

Strange Noises from Your Water Heater

Unusual sounds coming from your water heater can be quite concerning. Here’s a quick guide on identifying and resolving common water heater noise issues:

  1. Rumbling or Crackling Noises: These sounds are usually caused by sediment buildup at the bottom of the tank. Periodically flushing the tank will help remove sediment, prevent damage, and ensure efficient heating.
  2. Popping Noises: These can occur when water trapped beneath the sediment layer boils. If flushing the tank doesn’t solve the issue, you may need to contact a professional plumber for further assistance.
  3. Whining Noises: In electric water heaters, a high-pitched whining sound might indicate a buildup of mineral deposits on the heating elements. Cleaning or replacing the elements should resolve this issue.

Discolored or Smelly Hot Water

While not as severe as other issues, discolored or smelly hot water can still be a major inconvenience. Here’s what you can do to address this problem:

  1. Sediment Buildup: Discolored water can be a sign of sediment within the tank. A simple tank flush should help clear out the debris and restore water clarity.
  2. Bacteria Growth: If your hot water has a sulfur or “rotten egg” smell, bacteria growth in the tank may be the culprit. Flushing the tank with a hydrogen peroxide solution can help eliminate this odor.
  3. Anode Rod Replacement: The anode rod in your water heater prevents rusting. However, a worn-out rod leads to problems such as discolored water and rust particles. Replacing the anode rod should resolve these issues.

When to Call a Plumber for Water Heater Issues

While some water heater problems can be tackled with DIY solutions, there are instances when professional assistance is necessary:

  1. Frequent Repairs: If your water heater frequently requires repairs, it may be time to consult with a professional plumber about replacing the unit or identifying any underlying issues.
  2. Installation or Replacement: Installing or replacing a water heater is a complex process best left in the hands of experienced professionals.
  3. Safety Concerns: If you’re unsure about fixing a water heater issue or suspect a hazardous condition like a gas leak, it’s crucial to call a professional plumber immediately.


A well-functioning water heater is key to a comfortable and efficient home. By identifying and addressing common water heater issues promptly, you can ensure an uninterrupted supply of hot water and prolong the lifespan of your unit. While some problems can be resolved with DIY techniques, it’s essential to know when to seek professional help from a trusted plumbing company like Craftsman Plumbing Inc.

With over 25 years of experience serving the Birmingham community and neighboring areas, our team is dedicated to providing honest, professional, and customer-centered plumbing services. If you require expert advice or assistance with your water heater repair, don’t hesitate to contact Craftsman Plumbing Inc. Our experienced plumbers are ready to help you with any of your plumbing needs, ensuring the comfort and efficiency of your home.