Why Does My Water Heater Keep Turning Off? An Ultimate Guide

Most homes today have water heaters or water heaters. Usually, water heaters use natural gas or electricity to heat water. Water heaters use 120 or 240 volts of electricity (240 volts is more common) to energize the metal heating element.

Most water heaters have two heating elements, one near the top of the tank and one further down. The electricity heats the element’s metal loops, which heats the surrounding water. Depending on the size of the water heater and recovery time, these heating elements have different wattages from one water heater to another.

why does my water heater keep turning off

The water heater has been able to work perfectly for years. However, over time, these water heaters will experience some common problems.

Why Does My Water Heater Keep Turning Off?

Few things are worse than getting ready for a nice shower or bath only to discover that no hot water is available. But this is the situation you can find yourself in if your gas water heater shuts off without warning after 5 minutes!

The pilot light cannot ignite, or issues with the gas supply are the major causes of a gas water heater turning off on its own.

Here, we examine how you may resolve this situation and strengthen your hot water supply.

  1. Thermocouples in Dirty Conditions

The thermocouple should be checked first to see if you can start your pilot light, but it keeps going out. A valve lets gas into the burner when the water heater is turned on, and the pilot light ignites that gas.

After around 30 seconds, the pilot light’s heat triggers a thermocouple, a cheap electrical switch that ensures the gas supply to the pilot light stays open and your water heater keeps working.

The thermocouple in your gas water heater can be soiled, twisted, or broken if you repeatedly switch it off. Usually, you may see the thermocouple right next to the pilot light.

Check the thermocouple to see if it is filthy or has any damage. Turn off the gas to let the thermocouple cool if it is dirty. You can then clean the thermocouple by lightly sanding it with fine sandpaper.

  1. The Heating Element on Fire

The most obvious symptom of this problem is when the hot water that usually comes out of the faucet turns warm. When this happens, the top heating element is likely faulty.

However, a faulty bottom heating element shows slightly different symptoms; the water from the faucet starts to get quite hot but then quickly cools down.

  1. Pilot Tube is Dirty

In the pilot light tube, dirt or soot buildup may result in a weak flame or even the failure to light the pilot light. If you observe a faint, flickering yellow light emerging from your pilot burner instead of an intense, blue flame that rises no higher than a half-inch, you most likely have a filthy pilot burner.

When the pilot tube has cooled, you may carefully use a needle to clean it to eliminate clogs, but if problems continue, contact a licensed plumber.

  1. An Error in the Gas Valve

My water heater keeps turning off; what did I do wrong? Your gas water heater will turn off if the gas valve or its inner components get broken, cutting off the gas supply to the pilot light or burners.

The gas valve in your water heater is most likely the issue if you’ve ruled out problems with your pilot light or thermocouple. The best person to repair or replace the gas valve is your plumber.

  1. Unclean or Blocked Air Inlet

The bottom of modern gas water heaters has air inlet screens that can become blocked with lint, pet hair, dust, dirt, and soot. The water heater will turn off if the air intake screen is blocked because insufficient air can enter to operate the gas burners.

If you ever smell natural gas from your water heater, immediately leave your house, shut off the gas, and contact your gas provider for emergency help.

What is a Pilot Light Heater?

A smaller gas flame, often made of natural or liquefied petroleum gas, is used as a pilot light to ignite a larger gas burner. It initially kept a pilot light on all the time. However, this wastes gas. Although electrical ignition is becoming more prevalent, gas pilot lights are still utilized when a high-energy ignition source is required, such as when lighting a big burner.

Why does my water heater keep turning off? Typical uses include home water heaters, central heating, fireplaces, flamethrowers, and hot air balloons.

Domestic systems use an electrical ignition, although most commercial kitchens still use pilot lights for burners, ovens, and grills. On newer remote-controlled fires, this is more usually referred to as standby.

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Heater Technician is a skilled author and water heater expert with years of experience in the field. He has authored several articles and books on various aspects of water heater installation, maintenance, and repair.