Causes of a Faulty Water Heater and How to Fix Them

Imagine getting ready for work during a Monday morning rush. You’re picking out your outfit, sipping your coffee, and preparing your shower. The morning should be set! However, you become infuriated when you step into a hot shower only to discover that it has cooled. This is perhaps a big sign that your hot water heater has become faulty. 

Fortunately, we’re here today to address this concern. Read on to discover the common causes (and solutions) of a faulty water heater!

Broken Parts

Every modern water heater produces heat from two sources–the top and the bottom. The lower element heats the incoming cold water, while the upper element controls the tank’s temperature.

When the lower element fails, the water will still be heated, but it will cool considerably faster than usual. If the upper element fails, the water will become warm but not hot enough. To fix this, a technician will use a multimeter to determine the electrical output of the element. Because of their low cost, these components are rarely maintained and are instead replaced. 

Another cause to look into is hard water sedimentation. This might hinder the operation of hot water heater elements in specific instances. While the element will still need to be changed, the hard water problem may need to be addressed.


Lime and calcium minerals in your water supply separate from the water and deposit sediment on the inside or bottom of your hot water tank. Additionally, hard water areas tend to accumulate more silt.

With a faulty bottom element, your tank’s capacity will decrease significantly, resulting in a limited supply of hot water. On the other hand, hot water heater noises are increased via sedimentation. When debris breaks and falls into the water from the tank sidewalls, the heater produces bangs and pops. 

To avoid this, you must conduct routine maintenance, sedimentation correction, the elimination of the silt, and tank flushing. This is usually done by an expert who will turn off and drain the heating system. Before closing the drain valves, the tank will be cleaned with cold water to remove any remaining particles. Cleaning your water heater can be done once a year, or every two to three years if your water is less sedimented.

A Faulty Dip Tube

The dip tube circulates the water in your tank, carrying cold incoming water to the tank’s bottom to be heated. If the dip tube breaks, the cold water is not heated and becomes lukewarm.

If a dip tube breaks, you may obtain hot water for a few minutes if no one else has used it, but it will quickly run out because the entering cold water is not heated before exiting the tap. A faulty dip tube causes the water to cycle between lukewarm and cold while the tap is running.

Dip tubes are often composed of plastic and are prone to cracking and breaking. The technician will drain the water heater before removing the dip tube. If the tubing ruptures, flush the heater to remove any remaining plastic particles. The technician will next replace the old tube with a new plastic tube.


Again, nobody wants to go through unpleasant cold showers. To avoid this, you must first detect why your water heaters are suddenly running cold and find experts who can fix the issue for you. Moreover, learn how to properly care for your water heater and maintain it in the best way you can. This way, you’ll never have to go through this kind of stress again!

Professor Plumb is a veteran-owned and operated business. With over two decades of experience, we provide the best water heater repair in Columbiana, AL, as well as plumbing and gas services in the area of Alabama. Schedule your service today!