common water heater problems

Common Water Heater Problems You May Face During the Winter

There’s a saying that “if there’s a worse time for something to go wrong, that’s when it’ll happen.”

Not having hot water in winter is more terrifying than seeing the Light of Saratoga. Turning on the shower and getting a rude awakening from freezing water is absolutely chilling (pun intended).

The above adage is true, at least when talking about water heaters. Cold weather can, indeed, lead to common water heater problems. At the time when you need hot water the most, that’s also when heater-related troubles start to show up.

What are the winter water heater problems that you should look out for? Here are some issues that you may encounter.

1. The Heat Is NOT On!

When the hot water isn’t hot enough, the usual culprit is the thermostat. It might be faulty or not set correctly. But during the cold season, the reason why you’re not getting enough hot water may be due to the cold weather itself.

Where is your water heater located? If it’s in the basement, garage, or other areas that aren’t kept heated, your heater will be exposed to the cold. The cold air around the tank allows the heat inside the tank to escape faster.

This creates standing heat loss. This is the reason why the water that’s supposed to be hot is only lukewarm.

Your water heater also works harder which leads to other problems.

2. Parts Failure

The temperatures in Livingston can go as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the coldest months. That puts a lot of strain on your water heater.

Any machine that works harder than it has to is hastening its demise.

The heating elements may wear out or break. Key parts such as the pilot light, thermocouple, pilot control valve, and even the thermostat can break down.

If any of the important parts fail, the whole system is in jeopardy. The result is less efficient heating and the risk of shutting down entirely.

3. One of the Most Common Water Heater Problems During Winter Is Burst Pipes

The water heater tank isn’t the only victim of cold weather. Exposed pipes can also cause plumbing problems during winter.

Sub-zero temperatures can freeze the water inside your pipes. Frozen pipes are prone to cracking, leaking, or busting open. But even before the temperature of the water reaches freezing point, your pipes are already in danger of bursting.

The water inside the pipes expands as it gets close to freezing. The pressure inside builds up until the pipe can no longer contain it. Eventually, it will burst.

We don’t have to tell you that burst pipes spell trouble. It’s possible to flood your entire house and not just the room where your heater is in. You’re looking at thousands of dollars worth of water damage, possible damage to your home’s foundation, and molds!

Call Us for Plumbing Services All Year Round

What’s your best defense versus common water heater problems during winter? The answer is having a reliable plumbing company at your beck and call.

The Plumber can look at your water heater, diagnose what’s wrong, and fix the problem. Whether you have a frozen water heater or burst pipes, we have a 24-hour emergency response team to handle any situation. We also offer top-of-the-line equipment installation if it’s necessary to replace your water heater.

If you’re in the Polk County area, contact us for all your plumbing needs!


tech checking water heater

How Cold Weather Can Cause Water Heater Damage

The average tank water heater has a service life of eight to 12 years. A tankless water heater system has a service life of 20 years or more. With the right care and maintenance, you may be able to extend the life of your water heater.

Are you providing the right maintenance for your water heater? How about preventative maintenance from cold winter weather?

Want to learn more? Keep reading to learn about how cold weather can contribute to plumbing issues that may lead to water heater damage.

Cold Weather Damage to Water Heaters

Wondering what type of water heater damage can be caused by cold winter weather? Here are common issues that can occur.

Your Water Heater Might Work Harder

If your water heater is located in an unheated part of your home, then the cold weather may make your water heater work harder to heat your water. This can lead to higher energy bills due to all that energy used heating up your water.

Frozen Pipes

Extreme cold weather can also freeze your pipes. If your pipes freeze, this can result in expansion which can cause your pipes to crack and leak. What's more, frozen pipes can eventually burst.

Preventing Water Heater Damage from Cold Weather

There are things you can do to prevent water heater damage. Here are some tips for preventative maintenance.

Insulate Your Water Heater and Pipes

What you can do to protect your water heater is to insulate your water heater and pipes. If your water heater is a newer model, it might already be insulated.

By insulating your water heater you can save 7%-16% on your water heating costs. What's more, you can decrease standby heat losses by 25%-45%.

You should also insulate your pipes to prevent them from freezing.

Flush Your Tank

Another action you can take for general water heater maintenance is to flush your tank from sediment buildup. Over time, sediment can accumulate at the bottom of your water heater tank.

The sediment buildup ends up affecting the performance of your water heater and makes it work harder than it needs to. It can also over time corrode the inside of your water heater which can lead to leaks and water heater damage.

Provide Regular Maintenance

To keep your water heater running optimally, you can schedule regular maintenance and service. You can have a professional technician come out for maintenance and to check for any signs of damage.

If the technician does spot any water heater damage such as leaks, they can repair the water heater or recommend a replacement if one is needed.

Need a Plumber for Water Heater Repair or Maintenance?

You want to make sure your water heater is protected from extreme winter weather. The best way to prevent water heater damage from cold weather is through preventative maintenance. After all, you rely on your water heater for so many aspects of your home life including bathing, cleaning, and cooking.

Is your water heater in need of service or repair? Looking for a reliable, trusted plumber in Livingston?

We service Livingston, Texas, and the surrounding areas. Contact us for your plumbing needs today.