Common problems with hot water tanks include leaks, overly hot water, inadequately hot water and no hot water. Some of these problems require replacing the tank while others are easy to fix.
A leaking tank indicates failure of the unit. When replacing the tank, owners have the option to upgrade to a larger one. While the easiest option is replacing the tank with the same fuel type, this is also the best time upgrade or switch to a tankless model. The life expectancy of a hot water tank is 10 to 15 years.
If the water temperature is too hot, the thermostat is set too high. Residents set the thermostats on gas units using the dial on the front of the unit. Thermostats for electric units are behind one or two panels on the front of the heater. Removing the panels exposes bare electrical wires, so it is essential to turn off the circuit breaker before removing the cover.
A tripped circuit breaker prevents an electric unit from heating water. If the breaker is not the problem, the element sometimes causes the water heater to stop heating. On a gas unit, an extinguished standing pilot prevents the burner from igniting.