Water Heater: Plumber or Electrician For Service?

San Rafael

(415) 942-6565

Santa Rosa

(707) 452-3464

Water heaters have both plumbing and electrical components. Since they deal with water and pipes, you might assume it is entirely a plumbing area of work, but when you take into consideration the element of heating, it is reasonable to consider that an electrician might be the better person to call whenever hot water heater problems occur. A licensed plumber works with water and pipe-related appliances, and electricians work with heating and cooling appliances. So who should you contact when you need water heater repairs? Are there areas where both plumbers and HVAC techs can assist? And what water heater repair problems can you take care of yourself?

Plumbing for Water Heater Repairs

In general, a licensed plumber is the better person to call when you experience initial hot water heater troubles. However, there are plumbing-specific situations in particular that indicate that it is better to call a plumber than an electrician. Those situations include:

  • Strange noises coming from the water heater
  • Rusty water
  • No hot water, or low hot water pressure
  • Water leaks
  • Pilot light (gas water heaters only) won’t stay lit

These are plumbing-specific tasks because they relate to the water and tank elements of hot water heaters. Plumbers have the tools, experience, and knowledge to be able to fix these types of water heater issues. Licensed plumbers typically have training with aspects of a water heater, such as the pipes and wires, gas lines, anode rods, and heating elements that make up the crucial system of water heaters.

Plumbers fix water heaters by first doing a general check on all of the components before identifying the specific area causing problems. They will then describe to you what the problem is and recommend either repair or replacement as a solution, depending on what will be most cost-effective in the long run. It can be as simple as replacing the heating element, but the better option can sometimes be to get a new water heater installed.

Electrician Water Heater Services

An HVAC technician works with things like furnaces and air conditioning, so you may be wondering how they can apply their heating and cooling-related skills to hot water heater units. While water heater repair is primarily in the realm of a plumber, electric water heaters in particular can require the work of an electrician rather than a plumber. Water heater issues that are specifically electric include:

  • Tripping circuit breaker
  • Fuse box overheats
  • Loose wiring can cause the reset button to trip

Though related to your water heater, these are electrical problems that a plumber won’t be able to help with. If you have an electric water heater, it is likely you will encounter electrical issues within the system. It is best to call an electrician if you are experiencing problems with your electric water heater that do not include leaks, rusty water coming from the unit, or weird noises.

DIY Hot Water Heater Repair

There are various maintenance tasks you can perform on your own to help extend the life of your hot water heater, as well as troubleshoot any minor repairs. You can check a circuit breaker, adjust or test thermostats, flush out the tank, and even relight the pilot light on your own, so long as you know all of the correct steps to take. Even things like pressing the reset button to reset the water heater can be the solution to a problem that you notice is occurring. However, major problems that need careful repair should always be handled by a licensed professional. There are elements such as gas lines, exhaust vents, and electrical pieces that can be more safely handled by professionals. Things such as strange noises, gas leaks, or an electrical problem are better handled by a licensed plumber or licensed electrician.

Tank water heaters will typically last around 10 years, while tankless water heaters can last around 20 years. If you are finding that problems and repairs are becoming more and more frequent, this is a sign it is time for a replacement. As far as water heater installation, you should always call a plumber for assistance with this job.

The Final Verdict

Both plumbers and heater/air conditioning technicians can work on a water heater, depending on the situation. In most cases, you will want to call a plumber to handle water heater problems, but if there is an electrical problem related to your water heater, then a professional electrician would be the better person to call. If you are not sure exactly what water heater issue you are experiencing, it is best to make your first call to a plumber all the same, and if the plumber finds no plumbing-related reason for the issue, it is possible the problem might be related to the power supply or loose wiring. In this case, electricians will obviously be your better bet to fix the problem.

A properly working water heater is important, and finding the right person who fixes water heaters is equally vital in making sure you don’t have to take cold showers when something goes wrong. If you are looking for a contractor who fixes water heaters with expertise, John Owens Services offers both plumbing and HVAC services for the job. We have the resources to fix any of your water heater problems, whether they are plumbing- or electrical-related. The next time you have trouble with your water heater, we are the plumber/HVAC technician who can provide the water heater service you need, no matter the issue.

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Serving Marin & Sonoma Counties

Good plumbing, heating, and air conditioning systems are vital in every North California home. John Owens Services, Inc. is proud to be the expert plumbing company you can count on

The John Owens Way

Our philosophy is simple, we always want to maintain equipment to give it the longest life possible. Next, we want to focus on repairing when something goes wrong. Then only as the last choice, we replace equipment when needed. That’s the John Owens Way.

San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464



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San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464