Homeowners often overlook water pressure until a problem arises. You should pay attention to water pressure fluctuations. If it drops suddenly or if it is continuously low. One troubling fixture can easily be corrected, but if the problem is widespread, it should be taken care of professionally or by a skilled person since it indicates more complication in your plumbing system.
It is essential to learn the basics of how your water heater works. Knowing basic structural and operational features will allow you to carry out routine maintenance procedure on the heater and keep it running smoothly. You will also be able to troubleshoot and know when to call a plumber when things get out of hand.
How Does Water Heater Work?
Most water heaters use storage tanks. They use either electricity or gas to heat a particular amount of water at a given time, depending on the tank’s size. The difference between gas and electric heaters (view on Amazon) is that the gas heater uses flame beneath the tank to heat the water while the electric heater uses elements to heat the water.
Every tank has an inlet and an outlet, allowing cold water to flow in and hot water out. The outlet supplies water to all the necessary appliances and faucets within the house.
The tanks also have a thermostat that monitors the temperature and a pressure relief valve that ensures the heating process does not produce unsafe levels of the water pressure.
For homeowners without tanks, a heating exchanger is used to heat the water. The heat source is gas. It allows the heat transfer from the exchanger to the water. The upside about this is that you are never short of hot water, and it is conducive for large families or homes that use plenty of hot water.
Here is a Simple Breakdown
- Water gets into the tank from the main water supply.
- The heating process begins; Either the burner (for gas water heaters) or the element (for electric water heaters) begins to heat water at the bottom of the tank.
- The water rises to the top of the tank as it continues to heat.
- Take water from the top of the tank where it is hottest when you need water.
Inside the water heater, there are:
The tank has different layers that serve different purposes. The inner part has a protective glass liner holding up to 60 gallons of water. The exterior has an insulating material covering it while the outer layer provides an additional insulating blanket.
Burner Assembly or Glass Valve
Electric water heaters use heating elements while gas water heaters use flame underneath the tank.
This is a temperature-controlled device that determines exactly how hot the water will get. You can adjust the temperature accordingly to meet your specification.
This is the tube that lets in water into the tank to restore the water being used. It is found at the top of the tank and goes to the bottom where water is heated.
Shut Off Valve
This valve (view on Amazon) stops water from flowing in the water heater. It is located outside the unit.
This is located at the top inside the tank. It lets the hot water leave the tank and flow through the home pipes to any appliance requiring hot water.
It is located on the outside of the tank near the bottom. It empties the tank to change the elements, get rid of sediment, or transfer the tank to a new place.
Pressure Relief Valve
This is a device for safety. It keeps the pressure inside the tank within very safe limits.
It helps keep the tank from corrosion by attracting corrosive minerals in the water. Instead of corroding the tank, the minerals corrode the rod. It is made of aluminum and magnesium with a steel core. Depending on how hard the water is, consider replacing the rod every 3 to 5 years.
Most manufacturers recommend a water temperature setting of between 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. That is a good range since it’s nicely hot for the household to use without the risk of scalding. The thermostat controls the water temperature inside the tank and can be adjusted to fit your needs.
Setting your heater to a lower temperature saves energy. Adjust your temperature with a knob at the bottom of your tank. For electric heaters, you will have to pull the protective cover off to access the knob.
What Causes Low Hot Water Pressure?
Here are some of the common causes for low hot water pressure.
The Fixture Is Worn Out or Has Scale Build-Up In Excess
Low hot water pressure could be because the fixture is very old and worn out. Mineral deposits and scale from hard water, with time, build up inside the fixtures and causes the pressure to decrease.
The Water Supply Shut off Valve Is Partly Blocked
When the main supply line of water has been closed partially, the pressure in both cold and hot water will decrease.
Old Steel Water Pipes with Extremely Corroded Inner Parts
Corrosion in pipes causes blockage. Old steel water pipes corrode the inner parts of the water supply lines. The corroded pieces break and create clogs that restrict water flow causing low water pressure.
The Pressure Regulator is Incorrectly Configured
If the pressure regulator is not set correctly, perhaps left on the lower water pressure, you will definitely have low water pressure. The regulator may also be worn out or defective, hindering it from functioning properly.
Sediment and Scale Build-Up in the Water Heater
Sediment and scale problems occur in tank-type heaters. If the inside of the tank-type heater corrodes, the corrosion settles at the bottom of the tank. Sometimes the sediment may be drawn into the hot water supply line, causing a blockage. Blockage restricts water flow, causing pressure reduction.
Many Bends in the Plumbing Lines
If the water has to go through many bends to come out of the faucet, each time the water hits a bend, it loses some pressure.
Kinked Water Supply Lines
Tank type heaters mostly have accordion-style copper water pipes that are easily bendable. Sharp twists or kinking distorts them. Water does not flow through kinked lines correctly, thus reducing pressure.
Hard Water Mineral Deposits and Scale in the Plumbing Lines
If you are using hard water, scale and mineral deposits gradually form inside the water supply line. The pile-up will eventually cause blockage, thus reducing the water pressure.
General Low Water Pressure
When direct supply lines coming into your home have problems, It affects both the cold and the hot water pressure.
You Need to Know This About Your Water Heater
If you’re always having problems with your water heater, you need to know whats causing the issue and if you’ll need to get the water heater repaired or replaced. Having a working water heater is crucial for any home and fixing this is one form of home improvement but there are many more.
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How Do You Fix Low Hot Water Pressure?
Before proceeding on to fixing low hot water pressure problem, you have to figure out exactly where the problem lies. Is it isolated to a single outlet, or is it common in all the hot water faucets? Once you have done your survey, you can begin to narrow down the possible cause for the low hot water pressure. Check out the possible causes and fix them.
Accumulation of Sediment and Scale in Your Hot Water System
Cleaning and flushing out the scale and sediment from the interior of the tank. If your water heater is more than eight years, you may want to replace it.
Plumbing Line with Several Bends
This can be solved by re-piping the entire plumbing lines that cause problems in the faucets. If the problem affects the whole home, then consider installing a pressure regulator. Set the regulator to increase hot water pressure.
Closed or partially opened valve. Open the valves all the way to enable water to flow without any hindrance.
General Low Water Pressure
This can be fixed by installing a pressure regulator and setting it to increase the hot water pressure.
A Faulty Configuration of the Pressure Regulator
Check the regulator’s setting; if the setting is right, but you have low water pressure in both the hot water and cold-water supply line, then you’ll most likely need to replace it. Carefully adjust your setting to normal.
Worn Out Fixture
Worn out fixtures should be replaced with a new one.
Old Steel Water Pipes with Corroded Inner Parts
Seek professional help in re-piping the entire home.
Hard Water Mineral Deposits and Scale in the Plumbing Lines
Have your plumber clean the water supply lines or replace them with new pipes.
Kinked Water Supply Outtake and Intake Lines
You need to replace the lines that are too badly kinked. Straighten those that are just sharply bent, but be careful not to damage them any further.
Water supply lines are not sized correctly. You can have your water supply lines re-piped to enlarge them. Large water supply pipes drastically reduce friction and allow smooth flow of water. This helps to increase the pressure noticeably.
Water heaters are simple appliances that work for up to 15 years if you maintain them properly and take good care of them. These steps will show you how to perform simple draining to keep it running smoothly.
Locate your heater. It could probably be in the garage. Be careful since you are going to deal with electricity or gas and very hot water steam.
Figure out if it is gas or electricity. Look at the tank and read instructions, labels, and warnings.
Locate pressure release valve, shut off valve, and water drain. There is a pipe that leads out of the water heater and into the wall. The piping continues on the other side. Ensure that it is not obstructed. The water drain is a simple spout that has threads that attach to the hose. It is located at the bottom.
Gather supplies and turn off the heating source. Shut the circuit breaker or turn off the gas. You will need a hose, a bucket, and gloves to protect your hands from steam and hot water.
Turn off the water and attach the hose. Turn off the water from the water heater and attach your hose to the water drain.
Turn on the water drain then open the pressure release valve. The water will drain from the hose the stop slowly. A vacuum is formed, and the pressure release valve has to be opened to let it out. The water will be dirty due to the sediment built over time. Let it all out.
Turn on the water to flush out all the sediment. Turn off the water drain and remove the hose. Put your bucket below the drain. While the pressure valve is still open, turn the water on and let it wash out the sediment.
Make sure the water drain is turned off, and the pressure release valve closed wait until the tank is full before you turn the heating unit on. Once the tank is full, turn on the circuit breaker and gas.
The water leaving your hot water heater should flow at the same pressure as the cold water flowing into your home.