Imperial Plumbing

Water Heater Diagnosis Guide for Tucson Homeowners

Written by
Paul Samorano
Published on
April 12, 2024
Water Heater Diagnosis Guide for Tucson Homeowners

If you're experiencing issues with your water heater, don't worry! Here's a simple guide to help you diagnose the problem. Remember, your safety is paramount, so please ensure the power supply to your water heater is turned off before you start.

The Gas Water Heater Diagnostic Safety Check

Before diving into any troubleshooting with your gas water heater, ensure your safety by turning off the gas supply. In a typical Arizona home, the gas supply shutoff valve for a water heater is usually located on the gas line that is parallel to the water heater. The valve handle is typically in line with the gas line when it's open. To shut off the gas supply, you should turn the handle clockwise until it is perpendicular to the gas line. If you suspect a serious gas leak, it's important to leave your home immediately and contact your gas utility company, as this is a dangerous situation best handled by the experts at Imperial Plumbing.

Homeowner Water Heater Inspection Guide

Tucson Homeowner Water Heater Inspection Guide - Imperial Plumbing

To inspect a water heater for signs of wear or damage, such as rust on the tank or water pooling at the base. An average homeowner in Tucson, Arizona, can follow these steps:

  1. Turn Off the Water Heater: For safety, turn off the power to the water heater before starting the inspection.
  2. Visual Inspection: Begin with a visual inspection of the water heater. Look for signs of rust on the tank, especially around the fittings and connections. Also, check for water pooling at the base of the water heater, which could indicate a leak
  3. Check the Inlet and Outlet Pipes: Inspect the areas where the inlet and outlet pipes connect to the water heater for signs of leakage.
  4. Inspect the Drain Valve: The drain valve is located at the bottom of the tank. Check it for signs of leakage.
  5. Drain Some Water: Attach a hose to the drain valve and let some water out into a bucket. This will allow you to check the color of the water. If it's rusty, this could indicate corrosion inside the tank.
  6. Check for Corrosion: Look for signs of corrosion, such as rust-colored water or rusty valves.

Imperial Plumbing Water Heater Inspection Tip

Paper Towel Test: If you suspect a leak but aren't sure, lay a paper towel over the area where you noticed water collecting. Check the paper towel hourly for signs of seepage. If it's still wet after 24 hours, it's likely a leak and you should contact Imperial Plumbing ASAP.

Inspecting the Pilot Light and Burner Assembly

A common issue with gas water heaters is a pilot light that won't stay lit or a burner that won't ignite. Carefully inspect the pilot light and burner assembly. If the pilot light is out, follow the manufacturer's instructions to relight it. If it won't light or stay lit, the thermocouple may need to be replaced.

Here's how an average Arizona homeowner can inspect the pilot light and burner assembly of a gas water heater:

  1. Locate the Access Panel: The access panel is usually at the bottom of the water heater. Open it to access the burner assembly and pilot light
  2. Check the Pilot Light: Look for a steady blue flame. If there's no flame, it may need to be relit. If the flame is a different color, it could indicate a problem that requires professional attention
  3. Inspect the Burner Assembly: Ensure the burner is not visibly dirty or corroded. If it is, this may be affecting the water heater's efficiency and would require professional service

Thermocouple and Gas Valve Testing: Be Safe Not Sorry

Thermocouple and Gas Valve Testing - Imperial Plumbing

As we delve deeper into the heart of your water heater's operation, it's time to focus on the thermocouple and gas valve—key components that ensure your unit's safety and functionality. While these steps may seem a bit technical, a savvy homeowner in Arizona, equipped with the right tools and a dash of confidence, can perform these tests. While these steps may seem a bit technical, a savvy homeowner can follow these steps:

  1. Gather the Necessary Tools: You will need a multimeter (or multitester) that can measure millivolts.
  2. Locate the Thermocouple and Gas Valve: The thermocouple is a small metallic tube next to the pilot light, and the gas valve is where the main gas line connects to the water heater.

Testing Your Water Heater's Thermocouple

  • Light the pilot light by following the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Use the multimeter to measure the millivolt output of the thermocouple.
  • Place one probe on the copper part of the thermocouple and the other on the connection where the thermocouple attaches to the gas valve.
  • A properly functioning thermocouple will generate 15-35 millivolts when heated. If it's below 15 millivolts, the thermocouple may need to be replaced.

Testing Your Water Heater's Gas Valve

  • If the thermocouple is functioning correctly but the pilot light still won't stay lit, the gas valve may be faulty.
  • Testing the gas valve typically requires specialized knowledge and tools, so if you suspect a problem with the gas valve, it's best to contact a professional for further diagnosis and repair.

When It's Time for the Pros: Imperial Plumbing's Water Heater Services

Embarking on a DIY repair can be an empowering experience, but when it comes to the complex workings of your gas water heater, there comes a moment when calling in seasoned professionals is not just a choice—it's a smart decision. That's where Imperial Plumbing shines as Tucson's beacon of expertise in water heater repair.

Our mastery of the trade isn't just about fixing what's broken—it's about restoring your peace of mind and the comfort of your home. With decades of dedicated service under our belts, we've become the trusted guardians of Tucson's warmth, one water heater at a time. Our team isn't just experienced; we're a handpicked squadron of local experts who understand the nuances of Arizona's water systems and the unique challenges they present.

At Imperial Plumbing, we don't just repair; we care. We care about the safety of your family, the efficiency of your water heater, and the trust you place in us. Our authority in the field is backed by a legacy of satisfied customers and successful repairs. We're not just in your neighborhood; we're part of your community, committed to providing you with service that's not only reliable but also infused with the warmth and integrity of a neighbor.

So, why trust Imperial Plumbing with your water heater woes? Because we're more than just plumbers—we're your allies in home maintenance, the seasoned veterans you can count on when the heat goes out. When you choose Imperial, you're not just getting a repair; you're getting the Imperial promise of excellence, safety, and a water heater that stands the test of time.

Let us bring our expertise to your doorstep. With Imperial Plumbing, you're choosing the pinnacle of professional service in Tucson. Give us a call, and let's bring the heat back to where it belongs—in your home.