Are you struggling with a broken water heater? If you get hit with an icy blast of water in the shower, if you’re dealing with water that is discolored or malodorous, or if you’re trying to determine the cause of the high-pitched squeaks or low rumbles and groans that emanate from your basement, it’s important to address these problems quickly to avoid further complications and damage. So how do you know whether a a repair is something that you can tackle yourself, or whether you need to call in the experts? Read on to learn more about which water heater repairs are typically safe for the DIYer, and which require the assistance of a professional repair technician.
DIY Repairs for Water Heaters
Some common issues can be remedied quickly and easily without requiring extensive knowledge or a variety of tools. For example, a sudden loss of hot water may mean that the pilot has gone out. There’s typically no need to call a contractor to simply to relight the pilot. In addition, not enough hot water or water that is too hot are both problems that can often be resolved by just changing the thermostat settings on the outside of your water heater.
Some parts, such as the dip tube, sacrificial anode rod, and heating element may need to be replaced after a certain amount of time. These parts are relatively inexpensive and can typically be found at your local hardware store. While replacing most hot water heater parts is fairly easy, it is not entirely without risk. While DIY repairs can save you some time and money, it can also be messy, and there’s the risk of electrical exposure with certain repairs. If you’re uncertain, it may be best to contact a professional repair service.
Although professional water heater repair may be more costly than a DIY job, it is almost always cheaper than hot water heater replacement, and is may actually save you money in the long run! Some jobs require highly specialized tools that just aren’t accessible to the average homeowner, and you may need the knowledge and skill of an experienced professional to safely and accurately address certain issues that commonly plague hot water heaters. For example, water heater tanks may accumulate scale and sediment over time, causing the tank to overheat or accelerating the corrosion of the sacrificial anode rod. A profound buildup of sediment may be difficult to remove, and flushing the tank can be messy. This type of job may be difficult for a do-it-yourselfer to complete, but should be routine for a licensed professional.
Replacing the dip tube also requires removing the cold water pipe, and changing out the heating element requires dealing with 220 volt electricity, so if you’re not experienced with plumbing and electrical work, it may be best to leave these jobs to your local master plumber. In addition, any repair work needed for gas heaters is best left to a skilled technician in order to avoid the risk of fire, gas leaks, or personal injury.