Is Your Water Heater Failing? Here are the Telltale Signs
You’ve had your water heater for years now. The heating equipment has done a great job of providing an ample supply of hot water when you need it most. However, water heaters, especially the traditional ones that come with a tank, fail at some point. If you don’t take proper care of the equipment and inspect it regularly, you’ll wake up one day to freezing cold showers.
What if this happens in the middle of winter when you really need your steaming hot showers? Scary, right? That’s why you need to watch out for the following telltale signs of water heater failure, especially if you never maintain yours properly.
The water flowing from your shower and hot water faucets should look the same as the water in the home’s plumbing system. Thus, if your hot water suddenly looks rusty, this is a sign that your water heater is wearing away. The heating elements are usually made from metal. Over time, due to poor maintenance or use of hard water, the metal starts to wear away. The residues mix in the water and cause it to look rusty with a metallic smell.
Sometimes the problem may not lie with your water heater but the hot water piping system. If the pipes are galvanized, they can also wear away and deposit residue into the water. Thus, to be sure it’s the heater, drain three or four buckets of hot water from your shower or hot water faucet. If the third and fourth buckets still have rusty water, the problem lies in your water heater.
You need to replace the entire heater or parts of it to prevent this problem. If the unit is old, consider investing in a newer, energy-efficient model such as the tankless water heaters as recommended by the U.S Department of Energy.
Popping or Rumbling Noises
Water heaters operate quietly while heating water. If yours suddenly starts to make popping or rumbling signs, there is a problem. Most times you may assume the rumbling sounds are due to high water pressure in the plumbing pipes. However, if your water pressure valve is working correctly and the noises are only present around the heater, it is the culprit.
These noises occur due to mineral buildup in the water heater, and they’re common in homes that use hard water. As the heating element works, the minerals in the water start to form a layer around the heater. This leaves air pockets between the heater and the sediment layer, and the result is a rumbling noise.
Mineral buildup in your heater is catastrophic. Over time, the minerals and sediment coat the heater entirely and prevent it from adequately heating the water. They also erode the metal parts of the heater, eventually causing it to fail. If you use hard water in your home, consider softening it or invest in a water heater with hard water protection. However, you’ll still need to clean it regularly to get rid of the buildup.
Little or No Hot Water
The most devastating sign of water heater failure is little or no hard water. The heater starts to take longer to warm water or doesn’t heat it at all. Various problems can contribute to this, and they include the following:
- An old water heater that’s no longer working
- Excess mineral buildup in the heater
- A faulty heating element
Before it fails, a tanked water heater will start to leak, and this is a sign of corrosion. Also, you may notice a sudden spike in your energy bills. Replace the heater immediately before it stops serving you altogether and plunges you into a state of emergency.
Replace Your Failing Water Heater Today
Water heaters that aren’t properly maintained are bound to fail before the end of their usable life. Thus, if you notice any of these signs, it’s time to call in the experts. Professional plumbers will inspect the entire system and offer advice on whether to repair or replace the unit.
Is your water heater failing or unable to deliver hot water efficiently? Contact us today for professional repair and installation services!