Why does my hot water heater surge hot and cold water?
By s_rich0797 from Johnson City, TN
First of all I'll answer for a gas water heater. That's what I have. I'd check the thermocoupler. It's located near the pilot light. For an electric powered water heater there are a number of things that could be wrong. It could be a bad thermostat, electrical connection, heating element. If it's equipped with a printed circuit board there may be a problem with it. If this is an older tank and they used iron pipes you could have a water restriction due to corrosion inside the pipe going to the unit. The corroded pipes applies to both the gas and electric types of water heater
Check the dipstick (or get your plumber to do so) Cold water comes in at the top of the tank, and the hot water that you use comes off the top of the tank. The dipstick is needed to channel the incoming cold water to the bottom. It can break loose or corrode through, so that the water you're using is cold water that has just come into the tank.
We experienced this same problem last week with our gas water heater as I was taking a shower. Burrrr! The problem is the thermocoupler. Since ours is a left hand thread it had to be ordered so we are heating water for a bath every night. Don't wait till yours goes completely out or you may have to be heating water for your family too. Good luck.
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