The goal of a water heater is not to deliver scalding hot water, but it should provide warm water. Even if the water is not cold, only partly-warm water is evidence that your heater is not operating correctly and might need repair. Since this issue can occur for various reasons, learn about some of the common malfunctions that can result in this problem.

Thermostat Sensor Error

Similar to the heating and cooling unit inside your home, a thermostat also powers a water heater. On the inside of the unit is a temperature gauge that warms the water to a certain degree. If the thermostat sensor is not functioning correctly, it could register a false temperature.

As a result, the faulty sensor will prompt the unit to stop heating the water before it achieves the actual temperature. Fortunately, this issue can typically be resolved by replacing the sensor.

Malfunctioning Heating Element

The heating element is the component that heats the water. Fueled by gas or electricity, the element uses immersion technology to raise the temperature to the thermostat setting. When the heating system fails, it will typically heat the water intermittently. 

As a result, the water will not be cold, but it will not exactly be warm enough to take a hot shower comfortably, for example. A technician would need to assess the element to see if a repair or complete replacement of the element is necessary. Remember that this issue is most common with older units, so if you have had your heater for many years, this could be the issue. 

Low Water Levels

Tanked water heaters are designed to heat the water held inside of them. If the homeowner demands more hot water than is in the tank, once the water inside the tank is depleted, cold water will flow from the pipes. A leak in the intake pipe leading into the water heater or a leak inside the tank can cause the water level to lower, ultimately depleting your supply of warm water. 

This issue is often easier to detect outside the tank, as you will see pooling water around the unit. However, if you do not see water, you should still contact a technician to determine why water is not filling your tank. 

If you are experiencing this issue in your home, contact a water heater repair professional. A technician will be able to inspect the unit and determine the precise problem to make necessary repairs.