Understanding Why Your Water Heater Keeps Malfunctioning

Whether you’ve just gotten off a hectic day at work or school, there’s nothing more relaxing than taking a long, hot shower. It’s a great way to destress. Unfortunately, factors like a malfunctioning heater can prevent you from enjoying your me-time. 

It can be frustrating to take a hot shower that suddenly becomes cold. For this reason, you should call for urgent heating repair to identify and fix your problems. While it’s crucial to let a professional at Legacy Heating and Cooling handle this problem, you must also learn why your heater malfunctions to prevent hazards and inconvenience. 

If you want to ensure a successful heating repair service, this article will enumerate why your heater malfunctions, the signs of damage, and how to repair them. 

1. Broken Element

Many electric water heaters contain two heating components that work together to ensure a relaxing and efficient shower. The first element is at the bottom of the tank, where it heats incoming cold water to the user’s desired temperature. On the other hand, the second component is near the top of the tank, and it helps maintain the warm water at the set temperature. 

Signs of a Failing Element 

You have a broken element when you notice the water temperature changes. If the lower component malfunctions, the water will warm but turn cold quickly. On the other hand, the water will be warm but not hot if there’s an issue with the upper element. 

How to Repair It

Your heating repair technician will use a multimeter to check the component’s electrical output to identify the cause of the issue and replace the broken parts. Fortunately, this process won’t take long. 

However, if the issue stems from hard water sedimentation, they’ll still replace the broken components and provide an additional remedy to address the water problem. 

2. Malfunctioning Dip Tube 

The dip tube directs the cold water in your tank downwards to heat it. When it malfunctions, it can’t heat the cold water, and you’ll be stuck with a mix of lukewarm and cold water instead of hot water. 

Signs of a Broken Dip Tube 

When the dip tube breaks, the hot water inside the system will come out of the tap, but it will quickly run out because the incoming cold water is not circulating downwards for heating. Your shower can also suffer from this broken component if the tap cycles between lukewarm and cold water while running. 

How to Repair It 

Many shower heaters have plastic dip tubes, making them more susceptible to breaking. Your technician will switch off and drain the water heater to ensure it’s safe to remove the broken dip tube. They may also flush the tank to remove any remaining plastic pieces. Then, they’ll replace the old one with a new, more durable polyethylene dip tube. 

3. Sediment Buildup 

Sediment accumulation in your water tank occurs when minerals like calcium and lime separate from the water and settle on the bottom or sides of the tank. This issue is more common in regions with hard water because there’s a higher mineral concentration. 

Signs of Sediment Buildup in a Tank

Your heater may suffer from a sediment buildup in the tank when it has a reduced capacity to create hot water. This sediment also makes noises like pops and bangs when it falls into the water from the tank’s sides. 

How to Repair It

You can repair sedimentation buildup by regularly flushing the tank. Begin by switching off the heater and draining the water. Then, let the cold water run through the tank. Experts recommend washing annually for hard water or every two to three years to minimize sediment.


Nobody deserves to endure a cold shower after a long day. Fortunately, you can efficiently address these issues by educating yourself on why it happens and working with professional heating repair contractors. 

If you need professional Edmonton and Calgary hot water heating repair, work with Legacy Heating! We specialize in installing and replacing your home’s broken unit heaters. Call us now, and let’s help you enjoy a more relaxing shower!

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