Why My Water Heater Keeps Turning Off

Your water heater is designed to either warm the water in a storage tank and keep it ready at demand, or it is a “heat on demand” where it heats and supplies hot water as you need it.

In both cases, a heating element is warmed by a burner, which is triggered by a pilot light. If this pilot light isn’t operating effectively and keeps going out, the burner won’t be turned on, thus the water won’t be heated. If your water heater keeps turning off during cycling, it stems somewhere in this process.Why My Water Heater Keeps Turning Off

Gas Supply

If your water heater is a gas appliance, there needs to be a flow of gas to the pilot for it to stay lit. If it’s not receiving enough gas, the pilot light won’t stay lit. You should also ensure that the valves on the line are open so that gas is getting to the pilot light.

Dirty Pilot Light

If your water heater hasn’t had regular maintenance, it might be too dirty for the pilot to stay lit. Regular cleaning will ensure it is in top condition and doesn’t have buildup from grime. There is an adjustment knob on your water heater’s pilot light that increases and decreases the flame size. This may have been bumped and adjusted, decreasing the size of the flame.

Bad Electrical

If you have an electric water heater, there is not gas supply or pilot light to worry about. But electrical components can go out over time. One sign is when the unit won’t turn on even when everything appears to be in good working condition. It’s most commonly a thermostat or heating coil issue, which can be verified with an electrical tester. Another sign a water heater component is going bad is when the unit triggers a shut down every time hot water is called. If the breaker is tripping, an electrician can determine why the unit is shorting out.

Bad thermocouple

The thermocouple detects whether the pilot light is lit be generating an electrical current based on the presence of heat. If it doesn’t sense heat, the thermocouple assumes the pilot is off and shuts down the gas supply to the burners. The pilot light  should be high enough to reach and touch the thermocouple. If it’s dirty, it needs to be cleaned and maintained to ensure it’s working correctly.

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