Life in Chicago without hot water isn’t pleasant. However, people often take their hot water for granted. They don’t realize how many day-to-day activities require hot water, and life with a broken hot water heater is a shock to the system. There’s no way you can completely eliminate the need for water heater repair in Chicago. But there are ways you can take care of your tank and prevent serious complications. By understanding some of the common types of repairs, you may identify an issue before it’s too late.

Replacing Dip Tubes

One of the most prevalent issues with hot water heaters is a broken dip tube. The tube is responsible for taking cold and fresh water from your water supplier and dispersing it through the water heater. After the water makes it through the drip tube, it ends up in the bottom of the tank. The heat exchanger takes energy from the combustion jet and warms the water. When the water is warm, it travels to the top of the tank.

If your dip tube breaks, cold water will remain at the top of your tank. The cold water will mix with hot water and leave you without access to warm water. Typically, people with this issue notice a sudden decrease in their hot water supply. The repair is relatively simple but best left to the experts. 

What the Repair Involves

A dip tube repair first requires you to shut off the cold water supply to the heater. If the valve remains on, water will continue to enter the tank. Once you locate and shut off the valve, you need to drain several gallons of water from the tank. It should be enough to clear the water away from the hot water pipes at the top of your tank.

Then, you may need to cut a pipe between your cold water valve and the water heater. However, only systems with copper tubing require this step. You need the right tool for the job, and you need to know what you’re cutting. If you don’t have copper tubing, the pipe should unscrew from the heater. Depending on the age of your system and the corrosion, removing it can be a struggle.

Finally, you can take a wrench and use it to remove the remaining pipe and the dip tube. At this point, you might discover that your dip tube is fully functional. There could be another issue with your water heater. If the tube is broken, you might see corrosion or a piece missing. You can replace the old tube with a new one.

While this might sound like a simple repair, a dip tube replacement is no easy task. You may not have the right tools to handle the replacement, or you could lack the knowledge to perform the repair yourself. Either way, let licensed plumbers in Chicago tackle the repair.

Faulty Burner Restoration

In gas-powered tank heaters, the burners are prone to problems. Over time, rust and dirt accumulate in the burner and keeps the part from igniting. And, as you might expect, no flame means no hot water. If the burner does manage to ignite, the debris could cause low gas flow and increased energy use. 

There’s not much you can do on your own to fix a faulty burner. Because natural gas is hazardous, it’s a repair no homeowner should consider making. To fix the issue, a plumber might remove the blast tube and soak it in diesel or kerosene. Blowing air through the tube cold loosens debris. 

It’s possible that the thermocouple is to blame. If you have an older heater, the thermocouple could be failing you. Repairing this requires turning off the gas and unfastening the nuts around the thermocouple. After fastening a new thermocouple in the burner and restoring the gas, the burner should light. Because a plumber is trained to work with natural gas, they know how to do this safely. 

Fixing a Leak

It’s not uncommon for plumbers to find themselves dealing with leak repairs. Although there are several causes of leaks, they all demand a plumber’s attention. If you wait too long to seek help, you could end up with water damage. 

At times, water leaks occur when there is a faulty connection between a valve and the water supply. In this case, the repair is as easy as tightening up the connection. But the problem could be from a leak in your water heater tank. Unfortunately, this is a much more involved and expensive repair.

When water heaters rust, they weaken and leak. They may also develop cracks from years of expanding and contracting. Once corrosion or cracking occurs, there’s only one solution – to replace the tank. 

What the Repair Involves

To determine the issue, you can check the connections yourself. If any connections feel loose, tighten them up with a wrench. Your next step should be to call the plumber. They can check your tank for corrosion or cracks.

If you do need a new tank, your plumber can advise you on the process. It’s crucial to pick the right size tank for your home, and you may want to consider installing a tankless water heater. 

Replacing the Heating Elements

The heating elements in a traditional electric water heater have a limited lifespan. Typically, the systems use two heating elements to increase and maintain the temperature of your hot water. If one element goes out, your water won’t get warm enough. 

To replace the element, a plumber needs to open up the tank. Although either element can burn out, the lower heating element is usually the first to fail. Accessing and replacing the element involves turning off the water, opening the access panel, and checking the electrical components. It’s a task best left for experienced plumbers.

Call Us for Water Heater Repair in Chicago

If you need hot water heater repair in Chicago, don’t hesitate to call for help. Here at J. Blanton Plumbing, we can diagnose your issue and repair it. Schedule your appointment today.