As a production manager, you rely on water heaters to make your business run smoothly. Whether it is washing dishes at a restaurant, or warming oil tanks, the industrial water heater must function properly, so that every workday becomes bearable and worry-free. Remaining informed about the typical problems that arise with heaters can help you fix them faster.
1. No hot water
A lack of hot water at your business can ruin your day not to mention cost you thousands of dollars of downtime. Imagine the following scenario: you come to work expecting everything to be working properly. You start your job for the day, but all you get is freezing water! What do you do? First check the pilot light. It could simply be that the pilot light has switched off. Grab your owner's manual and follow the directions to turn it back on. If you have lost your manual, or cannot figure it out, call your gas or electric company, and they will do it for you.
2. Water is not hot enough
If you are receiving only cold or lukewarm water, there are a few steps you can take:
First, inspect the thermostat. The US Environmental Protection Agency recommends that most modern businesses set their water heaters to around 120 degrees, to get it hot, while at the same time preventing scalding temperatures and saving energy. For oil heaters, simply adjust the dial at the front of the terminal box connection. For electric heaters, shut off the breaker and remove the access panel(s). Then, take away the insulation and turn the screw on the thermostat with a flat blade screwdriver, as necessary.
Second, flush the tank. Mineral deposits can accumulate in the tank, thereby reducing its ability to heat liquid properly. To flush a tank, turn off the gas valve or electrical power, and wait for the water to cool. Then, close the intake valve and fasten a hose to the drain valve (in the back of the tank), connecting it to an outside drain or bucket. Finally, open the drain valve and turn on the hot faucet, nearby in the production plant, to drain the water.
Third, examine the dip tube. This plastic tube channels incoming cold liquid to the bottom of the tank; there it heats, and then mixes with the other water. If it is broken, the cold mixes with the hot before it is heated, and the overall temperature will drop. Remove the cold-water plumbing, and gently replace the tube -- which you can find at a hardware store.
3. Water is smelly or discolored
This is the gross one. If your water turns to a different color or emits a strange odor, you know you have a problem. First, check to see if the problem is with the heater or with the water itself. If the problem is with the water, it is a more serious problem, due to piping or filtering. At this point, you'll want to call a professional.
If it is with the heater, it probably means that bacteria have grown in the tank. There are two ways to prevent this. Drain your tank, add hydrogen peroxide, and run water from each faucet or outlet in the production plant. The peroxide should kill the rotting bacteria. The other way is by keeping the heater's temperature to over 150 degrees, which will avert bacteria, but will risk scalding the unwary and lead to a loss of efficiency.