A water heater is supposed to supply hot water, but when the water is too hot, you and your family could be at risk of being burned. In many instances, the problem is easily solved. In others, a plumber might be necessary. To help you determine if it is time to call in the plumber, here are some reasons that the water heater might be overheating and what you could possibly do to solve the problem.
The most likely culprit for your hot water heater woes is the temperature setting. If you have never set the temperature or there is a possibility that it has been changed, check it to ensure that it is at the desired setting.
A setting of 120 degrees is a safe setting for most homes. It is low enough to help keep your energy bills low and will lower the temperature of the water to a safer setting. If you choose a higher setting, such as 140 degrees, be aware that this can lead to the water overheating again.
The water that is pulled into your water heater is not always free of debris. Most of the debris ends up settling in the bottom of your water heater's tank. The buildup can cause the water heater to work harder to heat up the water as the heating element becomes encrusted. Sometimes, this results in the water overheating.
If you have never emptied your tank, now is the time to do it. Turn off the water supply to the tank and completely drain it. After draining it, you can refill the tank. Allow it time to reheat before testing the water again.
Pressure Relief Valve
Your water heater is equipped with a pressure relief valve. The valve is supposed to help keep the pressure down if the water becomes too hot. When the valve is malfunctioning, the water can start to overheat.
To determine if the valve is to blame, you need to test it. Use your owner's manual to locate the valve on your tank. You should be able to flip a switch that is located on the valve. If you hear a draining or gurgling noise, the valve is not to blame. If there is no noise, you will need to have the valve replaced.
If you were unable to find the source of the overheating problem or the valve needs to be replaced, call a water heater repair service for assistance.