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A professional technician administers expert service on this residential water heater in Metro East, IL.

Common Issues with Water Heaters & How to Fix Them

Water heaters work hard to provide clean, hot water for all your taps and appliances. We depend on having access to that water every day. However, sometimes water heaters get overworked, which can lead to problems. Review these common issues and then determine if you can resolve them on your own or if you need professional services. If that’s the case, we hope you’ll reach out to experts at C&K Heating & Cooling, Inc. in the Metro East area of Illinois to restore the quality of your water heater.

Problems with Water Temperature

One of the most common problems with water heaters is the water temperature itself. Here is how to handle each situation:

When the water is cold, that is commonly caused by a faulty thermostat/heating element or a lack of power. First, try resetting the tripped circuit breakers and replacing the blown fuses. Next, check that the power switches are on and the indicators are lit. Lastly, ensure the thermostat is receiving power.

Check for a faulty heating element/thermostat, crossed hot and cold connections, or an undersized water heater when the water is warm but not warm enough.

When the water is too hot, it typically means the thermostat itself is set too high. Check the owner’s manual for your water heater and see if you can adjust the thermostat temperature. The Department of Energy recommends setting 120° F for the best heat and efficiency.

When in doubt, contact our professionals at C&K Heating & Cooling, Inc. for their experience and educated assessments.

Discolored or Poor-Quality Water

When you notice that the quality of your water is poor or has become discolored, there could be several causes. We advise handling each case differently and contacting the professionals if you have any questions or concerns. If you have sediment and mineral buildup, flush the water heater’s tank. Rust and corrosion in older pipes can be addressed by replacing the lines or the anode rod. If you have bacteria, add chlorine to the water. Water supply problems? Contact the local water utility if the problem doesn’t resolve within a few hours.


When you notice water leaking from your water heater, that problem can be attributed to many potential causes. Check for the following indicators:

  • Stuck Valve
  • Bad Gasket
  • Loose Heating Element Bolts
  • Leak in Water Tank
  • Leak from Plumbing Connection
  • Faulty Temperature and Pressure Valves
  • Insufficient Water Pressure
  • Water Heater is Overheating

In these situations, you need to check for loose plumbing connections and tighten them to reduce the leak. You should also check the bolts for the heating element and tighten those or replace the gasket. Finally, look for leaks around the storage tank—that could indicate corrosion from the inside, which means a replacement is likely needed. Naturally, you can solve leak problems altogether by switching to a tankless water heater instead, which lasts twice as long.

Strange Noises

The most likely culprit behind the strange noises you’re hearing is the sediment buildup in your water heater, but there could be other causes. Luckily, there are ways to identify the noises so you know when to act. If you hear a banging or rumbling, drain your water heater tank. A ticking signifies a sudden change in water pressure, so adjust your water heater’s pressure valve. Popping indicates sediment, so flush out your tank and replace the anode rod or install a water purification system. A screeching or whistling is typically caused by loose valves releasing air. Check pressure valves and temperature valves. When in doubt, call our professionals at C&K Heating & Cooling, Inc. at 618.537.8888, and we’ll diagnose the problem with your water heater and resolve it immediately.

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