Have a hot water heater that is not working? Then it's time to call a plumber to evaluate what is wrong and perform the necessary water heater repair to get it working again. Here is what you can expect when a plumber troubleshoots a hot water heater.
Inspect The Tank Visually
The plumber is going to start by performing a visual inspection, which involves looking for any signs of water at the base of the tank, and check the gas control valve for any error lights. They'll then remove the panel that covers the burner door and look to see if the pilot light is lit. These three things can help lead the plumber in the right direction to fix the problem.
Relight The Pilot Light
If the pilot light is off some investigation should be done to verify that gas is running to the hot water heater. For example, the gas to the entire home may be shut off because a bill wasn't paid. They'll also verify that the gas was not shut off on a gas line going to the hot water heater, with gas valves that are parallel to the pipe being in the on position.
Once gas is verified to be flowing to the water heater, the pilot light can be lit to get the water heater working again. This can be done by putting the gas control valve into the pilot position and sparking the igniter. The gas control valve can then be set to the desired temperature.
Check The Thermo Switch
If the pilot light is not lighting, it could be due to a tripped thermo switch. It trips when the combustion chamber becomes too hot, and it will prevent the water heater from getting hot again. This switch may need to be reset to get the water heater going again.
However, a tripped thermo switch usually means that something is wrong with the water heater. For example, the intake screen along the water heater's base may be clogged, preventing air from getting inside. There may also be an obstructed exhaust.
The thermo switch can also be tested by using a jumper cable to bridge the two wires together. If the water heater starts with the wires bridged, then you know that the thermo switch is faulty and needs to be replaced. The hot water heater should never be left with the jumper wire in place, since it should only be used to diagnose a faulty switch.
Reach out to a plumber to learn more about what they'll do to troubleshoot your broken hot water heater.