What does the blinking light on my water heater mean?

A blinking light on your water heater is an error message. It’s also common to see these after you plug it back in when you’re opening a shore house for the season.

If there’s no problem, the blinking light will become steady. If it changes color or keeps going on and off, then there’s a problem. Common errors are:

  • The pilot light is out
  • Thermostat error
  • Electrical or power problems
  • The tank is empty or not filling up

Broadley’s gets a lot of calls like these for second homes and rental properties in Avalon, Stone Harbor, NJ, and other shore points.

They’re especially common at the beginning of the summer.

The light often blinks as the tank fills up. If you drained the unit for the winter, it takes some time to replenish.

Depending on the size of the tank, this could take an hour or two.

When we handle the turn-on services for properties, we know to expect it. Then, we just wait to make sure nothing else is giving an error message.

Check the manual or the appliance itself

Ultimately, you can tell what’s wrong by the color of the light and the sequence of its blinking. But, these mean different things for different models.

There’s no one answer to what yours means without knowing what model you have installed.

Fortunately, the messages are easy to decode. You can check your manual, for starters.

And, manufacturers usually post the most frequent codes right on the appliance.

If you can’t find the manual, or if what’s happening isn’t listed, give us a call. We can check the code and guide you through any repairs if they’re necessary.

Many times, it’s as simple as restarting the pilot light. You can do that just by pushing a button.

But, if it’s a bigger problem, you’ll want us to take care of it before it gets any worse.

Is a blinking light on my water heater dangerous?

In almost all cases, a blinking light on your water heater is not a sign of danger. Today’s models self-diagnose and show you an error message right away.

Then, they shut themselves off before there’s a safety issue.

But, you want to watch for other problems at the same time:

  • A gas smell near the heater
  • Carbon monoxide detectors going off
  • Cloudy or metallic-tasting water
  • Leaking water around the tank

Gas smell near the heater

If you smell gas, open your windows and call the gas company immediately. Do not try to restart your heater.

That smell usually indicates a leak. And, natural gas is flammable. It could only take a spark – like from a pilot light – to start a fire.

Carbon monoxide detector goes off

Carbon monoxide, or CO is a colorless, odorless gas that’s poisonous in large doses. It’s also a byproduct of burning fossil fuels.

That means your furnace and water heater create it all the time.

When everything’s working as it should, that gas gets vented out of your home. If there’s a break somewhere, however, it starts filling up inside.

Your first warning sign is the carbon monoxide detector. Don’t ignore it!

Open all your windows and call a professional.

If you also start feeling sick or faint, call 911 or go to the emergency room. You may be showing the first signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Water is cloudy or metallic-tasting

This indicates a leak, rust, or other problem.

It’s likely that specs of rust, metal or other contaminants are in your water heater. Then, they’re making their way through the pipes and faucets.

If the concentration is high enough, you’ll get sick from drinking it.

Either way, you don’t want to bathe or wash dishes with that water. And, it’s a problem that will only get worse over time.

Water around the tank

This could be that “getting worse over time” thing we mentioned.

If the water heater is rusting out or otherwise leaking, you’ll eventually see water pooling around the unit.

That’s when you need to turn off the heater and call a professional ASAP. You run the risk of a bigger break and a full-on flood in your house.

Do I call a plumber or HVAC repair company?

A water heater problem is considered a plumbing job. But, that’s not always clear.

It’s a funny thing: People aren’t sure who to call when there’s a problem with the water heater.

On the one hand, it’s got to do with water. So, they go with a plumber.

But wait! It’s also heating said water. Sounds like an HVAC problem. After all, that’s what the “H” stands for.

Homeowners in Avalon, Stone Harbor, Upper Township, Ocean City and Marmora, NJ don’t have to split hairs. They can Broadley’s either way.

We’ve worked in the area for decades as a plumbing and HVAC repair and installation company.

Whether it’s your pipes, your sink, your air conditioning, or your heat, we can handle it.

Having one trusted company that can handle it all means you’re all set even if there’s an HVAC issue related to, or at the root of, your water heater problem.

Not sure why that light on your water heater keeps blinking? Call Broadley’s today, and we’ll get to the bottom of it right away.