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Gas Hot Water System Troubleshooting Tips

For most of us, a steaming hot shower is a necessity for kick-starting our morning routine. But if your water's gone cold and the instant gas hot water system is not delivering the reliable hot water you've come to expect, what do you do?

You can definitely call the team at Plumber Near Me; we’re ready 24 hours a day to fix your hot water! We can guide you through all solutions, whether you have an energy-efficient continuous flow system or heat water in a storage tank system. Whether all you need is a minor repair or a water heater upgrade, we will get your gas hot water system back in peak working condition once again.

In the meantime, there are a few handy troubleshooting tips for gas hot water systems that will help you better understand what the cause may be.

Check The Hot Water System Ignition Source

In the past, gas continuous hot water systems would stop working simply because their pilot light went out. These days, it’s far less common to come across a gas water heater with a physical pilot light.

Leading brands like Bosch, Rinnai and Rheem have moved away from gas ignition sources. Nowadays, you’ll more likely find them embracing hydropower, electric and battery power to complement gas efficiency.

Why is this the case? Simply put, it’s because roughly half of the energy used by gas hot water systems goes into maintaining the pilot light 24/7. However, with other fuel sources available to work in tandem, gas water heaters now offer greater energy efficiency than ever before. They may not be quite as energy efficient as solar hot water systems or heat pump-powered units, but they offer so much more than models of years gone by.

So what might the issue actually be?

Depending on the fuel source for your gas hot water system ignition, the issue could be one of the following:

  • Hydropower: Gas burner ignition is activated by running water. Therefore, a water flow rate that is too low may not activate the water for heating purposes.
  • Electric: For some gas hot water systems, it may be as simple as an issue with the power point connection. Maybe the switch was turned off! Or, a fault in the electrical wiring may have tripped a safety switch or circuit breaker. Always check the switchboard to see if something has turned off.
  • Gas: Poor gas flow or a gas leak means the burner will not stay lit. Likewise, blockages in gas pipes will affect a pilot light and it may not be strong enough to heat, or stay lit.
  • Battery: When there is no main power supply, battery ignition provides a sustainable alternative. However, there is always the risk of the battery failing.

Given the specifics of any individual gas water heater, it’s always handy to hold onto your user manual. It will be generally the fastest way to determine what you can troubleshoot, or when you need an expert’s touch.

Is There a Faulty Thermostat?

When natural gas water heaters deliver ice-cold water, often the thermostat or another internal part is to blame.

A thermostat controls your hot water temperature via a series of electrical signals that pick up any other temperature changes. So once you set the temperature of your gas water heater to a regulated 50°C or 60°C, it monitors the conditions to maintain that required temperature.

In addition to the ignition source, always troubleshoot the thermostat. Ensure that the temperature is set correctly, and if the hot water tap remains cold, there is a problem with temperature control.

But if it’s not the thermostat?

And be prepared for more work because the thermostat might not be the culprit. For example, perhaps it’s the tempering valve, which mixes hot and cold water on the way to your shower or tap. Or it may be the thermocouple, another temperature measurement tool.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to completely investigate or fix these issues yourself as the parts are hidden in a gas system. There’s a high chance of something going wrong, while you may also void any warranty. Unless you’re a licensed plumber trained to know their way around gas hot water systems, always contact a professional.

Has a Safety Measure Been Triggered?

If your gas hot water heater goes hot then cold, could a safety measure have been triggered that causes your system to lose heat?

One such example is Rheem and its FlameSafe® system. It’s an inbuilt shutoff protection system to prevent overheating and long-term damage. It’s an essential part of the unit and has to be operational before use.

Alternatively, if the fault is electrical, a safety switch or circuit breaker may have tripped. A grounded circuit, faulty wiring or overloaded electrical system could all be to blame.

Get to know all the features on gas hot water systems

Thankfully there are modern features installed on hot water systems that can help out anyone in a spot of bother when heating water. We’re talking about intuitive digital displays and mobile apps.

Forget the guesswork. Now you can control water temperature from your phone, and also monitor water and energy usage. Plus, when your gas hot water system is not working, you can access relevant diagnostics and error code messages.

Smart controls are the perfect tool for providing a clear understanding of how natural gas hot water systems work. Or perhaps how they don’t work. Modern technology is the perfect DIY assistant if you choose. Otherwise, just think of it as a warning sign that it’s time to book a gas hot water service!

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.