If you have a gas hot water heater, you might run into a few different problems. Here are some tips for troubleshooting the most common problems associated with this type of water heater.
There is No Hot Water
One of the most common problems you may experience with your gas hot water heater is having no hot water at all. If you aren't getting hot water from any sink or bathtub faucets, it is probably due to the gas thermocouple, the pilot light, or the pilot control valve. Start by checking the pilot light and being sure there is still a flame. Now is the time to become familiar with lighting a furnace pilot if you haven't done it before. Just be careful as you do so and follow the directions on your water heater's manual. You should also check that the gas thermocouple is tightened properly. If the pilot control valve needs to be replaced, contact a technician.
The Water is Rust-Colored
If the hot water coming out of your faucet is not clear but more of a rust color, then it is probably due to corrosion inside the tank or from a faulty anode rod. The anode rod is made of either aluminum or magnesium and is affixed to the top of the water heater. Unfortunately, they can dissolve over time, causing rusting and corrosion. This can cause rust-colored water to come out of your faucet. When you see rust-colored water, you should call a technician to have the anode rod replaced. Choose a magnesium rod, as it won't rust as quickly.
There is a Rotten Egg Smell
This is something only water heaters operated with gas will experience. If you smell a rotten egg smell when turning on the hot water in your home, it is probably due to bacteria in the tank. This is something else that can occur when the anode rod starts to decay, as this leads to bacteria that is then fed from the hydrogen gas in the water heater.
Aside from replacing the rod, you should also flush your water heater. After flushing it, clean it out with a solution of water and hydrogen peroxide. Let this sit in the tank for several hours before rinsing it. It will help clean out the bacteria sediments from the tank and get rid of the smell.
There is a Water Leak
Finally, you might see a puddle of water near the base of the gas hot water heater, which is usually an indication of a leak. This could be from the temperature and pressure relief valve, a plumbing connection problem, or corrosion of the tank that is causing the leak. With a water leak, it is best to call a professional plumber for repairs. They will investigate the water heater and plumbing connections and make the necessary repairs.