Water Heater (Gas) Troubleshooting and Repair – Coralville, Iowa City, North Liberty, and Cedar Rapids

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 11.43.51 AMThis article covers the basics of Water Heater (Gas) Troubleshooting and Repair.

Here are our qualifications…

Oehl Plumbing has serviced thousands of customers in our local geographic area since 1949. Our service area includes Coralville, Iowa City, North Liberty, Cedar Rapids, and all the smaller towns around. We have seen and corrected every common issue that could be encountered as professional plumbers.

Warning: Natural gas can explode! If you smell gas, please call for immediate troubleshooting and repair!




The three most common complaints are:

  1. Temperature issues
  2. Pilot light issues
  3. Leakage issues

Screen Shot 2017-07-10 at 11.43.57 AMTemperature issues

No Hot Water – Check the pilot light. If the pilot light is out, you can either re-light it yourself (providing you know how) or call for assistance. A pilot light can go out for various reasons, and yours may have gone out as a temporary system hiccup. On newer models, the pilot light should come on automatically when the system is operating properly. See the video below for an example.

Water not warm enough – Is heavy water usage the culprit? If so, consider installing a larger capacity water heater or staggering usage times. If you’re certain no one has recently “drained the tank,” you can try adjusting the temperature setting. Use caution when adjusting the thermostat to a “very hot” setting. When neither of these solutions work, a service technician should be called to check the functionality of your thermostat, or identify other issues that may be present. Clogged flues and vents may also cause problems.




Pilot light issues

No Flame – After following proper lighting procedures, if your pilot light will not light, you may have an issue with a defective component, such as the thermostat, thermocoupler, or gas valve. Do not be afraid to call for a service technician. The cost for troubleshooting and repair is reasonable, as these components can be replaced readily by a qualified technician. (Before you call, verify that your gas service hasn’t been shut off temporarily by the gas company–when there is no gas supplied to the water heater, there will be no pilot light.)

Watch Video: Pilot Light In Action

(The above video shows the proper operation of a modern water heater. By design, the pilot light does not stay lit as long as the water tank is full of hot water at the desired storage temperature. To active this pilot light, the homeowner began filling his bathtub with hot water. After a gallon or two of hot water usage, the internal sensor in the water heater activated the pilot light, which happens automatically. These energy efficient units are state of the art!)

Leakage issues

Water on the floor – This could be a big issue, depending on the source of the leak. Several possible areas of leakage would be: water lines, pressure valves, drain valves, or the water heater’s main tank. In most all cases, you should contact a qualified plumber for troubleshooting and possible repair. On older water heaters, tank leakage would be a very common concern. But it could also be something simple, so have no fear in calling. Before you call, if you can identify the general area of the leak, this would be helpful information to provide us over the phone.

Mike20131-225x300Thank you for reading.

Until next time…

Take care.

Mike Even, Sump Pump Expert







If your home is within our service area (50 miles or so around Amana, Tiffin, Fairfax, Williamsburg, etc.), and you need any water heater troubleshooting and repair help (or, heaven forbid, any 24/7 emergency service), please do not hesitate to give us a call.

Cedar Rapids

Iowa City
North Liberty