Common Winter Water Heater Problems

The cold weather is fast approaching, and that means it’s time to prepare your home to deal with it. Of the various parts of your home that you need to maintain differently during the fall and winter months, your water heater is one of the most important. As the temperature outside drops, the need for your water heater will change. It becomes more susceptible to failure since it will be working harder than usual. If you want to keep your water heater running strong despite the cold weather outside, look out for these common problems that can arise.

Common issues with water heaters, how to prevent them

Getting too hot

Although it’s cold outside, your water heater is more likely to overheat during the fall and winter months. Because of the cold weather, you’ll be asking for more of your water heater than usual. Keep an eye on the temperature that it’s running at. If it remains above 120 degrees for too long, you risk corroding the electrodes. This will make the water acidic, which causes the rest of the water heater to corrode faster, too. If your water heater is above 120 degrees, give it a break and let it cool down for a while.

Mineral and sediment buildup

After months and years of use, minerals and other sediment from the water are going to start collecting in the bottom of your water heater. These deposits won’t affect the water quality much, but they will absorb heat from the water and put a strain on your water heater. You can avoid this becoming a problem by having your water heater descaled before winter comes.

Parts may break

As we’ve mentioned, the colder months are a busy time for your water heater. More use means more wear and tear. If any of your water heater’s components, like the heating element, pilot light, or pilot control, are showing signs of wear then the higher usage could cause them to fail. Have a plumber check your water heater for any components that are worn down and replace them so they don’t fail you when it counts the most.


You shouldn’t only insulate your pipes for the winter, your water heater can benefit from it too. While it’s not going to freeze and break as a pipe would, an insulated water heater will run more efficiently. It loses less heat than is produced, and it can get hotter faster. Insulation can help a water heater get up to four degrees hotter than usual. For a gas water heater, use fiberglass wrap and hold it in place with aluminum foil tape. For an electric water heater, neoprene foam is your best bet.

Bison Plumbing | Repairs, Installation & Maintenance for Water Heaters

If you don’t want to end up taking cold showers this winter, do yourself a favor and make sure your water heater is up to the task. We at Bison Plumbing can help get your water heater perfectly prepared to withstand the winter workload efficiently and without a problem. We can inspect the water heater for any issues, as well as perform maintenance and repairs as needed.

To schedule an appointment, call us at (586) 204-6576 or send in an online contact form now!


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