January 12

What is the most common problem with water heaters?


Let’s face it! Water heaters aren’t perfect, but with proper maintenance, you can take care of yours. 

However, both electric and gas-powered water heaters have their own flaws. The only way to prevent problems is to know what they are. You should know the most common problem with water heaters is temperature control. 

Picture this — you wake up in the morning to take a hot bath and start running the water. Upon putting your hand under the tap, the water feels as cool as an icy glacier or as hot as the sun! If this is the case, you should learn about signs of wear and tear, causes of damage and how to maintain your water heater.


What to look for

There are a few telltale signs you can look for when your water temperatures become inconsistent. Temperature fluctuation can be an early sign of more serious problems with your hot water tank.

Here are a few things that indicate your water heater may be damaged.


Hot water shortage

This is the most obvious sign of a problem with your water heater. Whether you’re washing the dishes or taking a bath, you’ll notice when the hot water doesn’t come on. After dipping your hands or toes in the water, you’ll pull them out quickly after touching ice cold water!


Varying temperatures

If your water temperature varies, it means there’s a problem. You might notice little things like having to turn the shower dial constantly. This might spawn from an electrical issue or buildup inside your water heater.


Change in appearance

When your once-clear water looks cloudy or is filled with rust, take it as your first red flag. It often means the pipes or inside walls of your water heater are rusted. Rust eating away at your water heater often results in leaks.


Odd sounds

When you hear sounds coming from your car, you might think “that sounds expensive.” Things aren’t any different when you hear popping or rumbling noises coming from your water heater. It’s a sign of buildup inside the tank, which can cause several issues if not treated right away.


Constant repairs

Weigh your options if you have to repair your water heater several times. The costs of small and expensive jobs can add up over time. When issues become more consistent, consider buying a new water heater.



There are several reasons for water overheating or feeling too cold, but you can bet it’s because of your water heater! 

Some flaws are more evident than others, which is why we’re reviewing a variety of causes. Identifying the problem is the first step — here are some common causes of water heater malfunctions. 


Defective thermostat

Your water heater’s thermostat regulates its temperature. All water heaters have one at the top and another at the bottom. The top thermostat controls the top of the heater and relays power down to the bottom one, so you’ll have lower amounts of hot water if it stops working. The same thing happens if the bottom thermostat stops working.


Leaking tank

A leaking water tank is a hidden culprit. One of a water heater’s main functions is to store hot water for later use, but a leak will cause it to come out. It results in you getting soaked in freezing, cold water the next time you hop in the tub. If the leaky valve isn’t replaced by a professional early enough, mold and mildew may form and your home will suffer from structural damage.


Broken gas valve

How does your water heater warm up your water? The likely answer is with gas. Proper maintenance is essential if you want to avoid this problem. You should watch for the nasty smell of rotten eggs or garbage because it’s a sign of a gas leak. It’s dangerous for those living in your home and will cool down your water very quickly.

You don’t need to worry about this happening if you use an electric water heater.


Mineral buildup

A common reason for your water becoming too hot is a mineral buildup in hard water systems. Hard water contains more calcium and magnesium than usual, due to limestone, chalk or gypsum getting into it. This commonly happens with city-supplied water. The extra minerals cause your water heater to overheat because they tend to attach themselves to the heating elements.


Cracked or broken dip tube

When your water heater’s dip tube fractures, it allows cold water to get into places it’s not supposed to. The dip tube is supposed to fill your water heater’s tank with cold water up to its water line. The cold water usually enters the tank at the bottom, but a broken or cracked tube causes cold water to leak into the top of the tank where hot water should go. The two will then mix with one another, which causes a blast of cold water.


Damaged heating element

There are two main heating elements inside your water heater. If one of them breaks or gets damaged, your water will become cold or lukewarm. One’s located at the top of the heater and the other is found at the bottom of the heater. One cannot survive without the other because it will have to work twice as hard as before.



Water heaters are most commonly found in basements, which can become damp for several reasons. A flood is one of the main reasons the area gets wet. After heavy rainfall, check out your water heater because your pilot light might have gone out. Inspect the circuit breakers if you have an electric water heater and contact a professional if you notice visible damage.


Water heater is too small

Sometimes a water heater isn’t big enough to function properly. Larger properties need heaters with more power to support the demand for hot water. A change in your house such as having a new baby or adding another bathroom can cause temperatures to fluctuate. When you’re renovating or expanding your family, keep your water heater and its capacity in mind. 


Too much demand

Did you know your water heater can become overworked? It can only supply hot water to so many places in your home at once. Spacing out your daily tasks can make a huge difference when it comes to using your water heater. Perhaps wait before taking a shower when you’re using the dishwasher and washing machine at the same time.


Having a tankless water heater

Many people choose to have a tankless water heater for its convenience. However, there’s a price to getting hot water on demand. You can jump in the shower without any waiting, but this isn’t always the case. There are burners that heat your water. When the burners are off, cold water might make its way through the water heater, which makes the water much colder.



Generally, most water heaters last 12-15 years. A buildup of problems over the years might cause it to stop working. After having a professional check for the causes listed above, think about replacing your water heater. As previously mentioned, expensive repairs can add up to the cost of a replacement. The longer it’s used, the harder it is for a water heater to keep up.


Making your water heater last longer

We never recommend fixing your water heater on your own — always call a professional when you experience temperature problems! 

Educating yourself is the first step in preventing future issues. By following our tips, you can extend your water heater’s life span!


Flush your water heater’s tank once per year

Flushing your water heater’s tank annually is recommended by all manufacturers. By flushing the tank, you prevent sulphur, iron, scale and other chemicals from building up on the inner walls and pipes. 

Flushing will protect your water heater from damage and help you receive good quality water for the years to come. Leaving these remnants in your tank can cause rusting or leaking.

Luckily, most water heaters come with instructions to help you do so safely and efficiently! 


Adjust the temperature

If you want to control how warm your water is, you can adjust the temperature on your water heater. It should be adjusted to 120℉, but you can save on energy costs by decreasing the temperature by 10 degrees. Note you should never set your tank’s temperature above 140℉ to avoid burning yourself.

Turn the water heater off and adjust the thermostat to its lowest temperature when taking long trips away from home.


Insulate the heater and pipes

An insulating blanket makes a huge difference if you’re looking to extend your water heater’s life span. By covering your tank, you’ll prevent heat losses and have warm water more consistently.

Use foam pipe insulation on the hot and cold water pipes. Condensation often forms on cold water pipes in the summer and you prevent this with proper insulation.

Remember not to cover any controls when insulating your heater and pipes!


hot water heater, water heater

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Some Of Our HVAC & Plumbing FAQs


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Colin Roch
Colin Roch
September 27, 2022.
Our water tank quit on us Saturday night. Contacted Lynn’s the next day for a quote and they scheduled us in first thing Monday morning. Service was quick, efficient and price is very competitive, would highly recommend.
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September 22, 2022.
If you need a company for any plumbing needs please make sure to use Lynne‘s HVAC Winnipeg. Scott was out today to clean our sewer line and he was very professional & had everything back working for us again. It seems tree roots were the cause of our troubles. I would rate Scott and the company both five stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
August 27, 2022.
From the moment I met Josh I knew I could trust this company. He was very patient and explained everything easily. The team came on time. They worked so hard to get my new AC on my old furnace. It was a challenging job but they stayed positive and never discouraged me. I was so confident they will do a great job and they did not disappoint. They cleaned up everything and it looked perfect. I am now enjoying my cool home. Thank you so much and I feel like I found a family. ❤️
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August 25, 2022.
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August 23, 2022.
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Our Winnipeg, Manitoba Service Areas

At Lynn's we are proud to service customers throughout Winnipeg and the surrounding areas with their plumbing & HVAC needs. You will likely see our pink trucks in the following places:

Our Winnipeg, Manitoba Service Areas

At Lynn's we are proud to service custsomers throughout Winnipeg and the surrounding areas with their plumbing & HVAC needs. You will likely see our pink trucks in the following places:

a few of the many neighbourhoods we serve in winnipeg for their hvac needs

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West Kildonan


Richmond West

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Our Manitoba HVAC Services

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A Few of the Many Areas We Serve in Winnipeg for their HVAC Needs

East Winnipeg

  • Transcona
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