Most hot water heaters don’t stop working without some kind of warning. So, don’t ignore the typical signs your hot water heater may be on its last leg. You can avoid the costs associated with an unexpected breakdown by learning how to spot the signs that your hot water heater is going to fail.
Typically, hot water heaters last for 10 to 15 years. Sometimes you can replace a part. But if your hot water heater keeps causing problems, you’re better off replacing the unit. Here are several signs that your water heater is failing:
1. Heating tank leaking
If your hot water heater is failing, you probably will see water dripping or puddles under the unit. First, check the valves to make sure they are closed. Replacing valves is an easy fix. But, if it's not the connection and the tank is still leaking, it’s time to replace your water heater.
2. Water heater is old
If your unit is over ten years old, it might be ready to be replaced. Most water heater units have installation date labels on them. If you can’t find the label, go to Google and key in the brand name and unit’s serial number.
3. Hot water quickly runs out
Over time, if not flushed regularly, a high volume of sediment might settle in the tank. These sediments prevent a full volume of hot water from filling the tank. So, it runs out faster than before. If you can’t flush the sediment out of the unit, you may end up with clogged and corroded valves.
4. Shower water temperature is inconsistent
If your water temperature is inconsistent, you might have a problem with the thermostat or, worse yet, the water tank. Have your plumber evaluate both and determine if you need to fix the thermostat or replace the tank with a new energy-efficient water heater.
5. Discolored water coming out of the faucets
Rusty water is another common sign your hot water heater is failing. Water heater tanks are coated to slow corrosion. But, once the coating begins to thin, rust forms fast. If the problem is minor, try flushing the unit and look into replacing the anode rods to extend the unit’s life.
6. Hearing strange noises from the water heater
If your hot water heater is making unusual sounds, it could be a sign your water heater element is breaking. Sediment and mineral deposits could be clogging your system causing poor water flow or reduced water pressure. Contact a professional plumber to flush your system and give it a good maintenance checkup.
7. Lower water pressure
If your home has low water pressure, sediment builds up faster. If you have hard water, it will clog systems faster than soft. You may have significant buildup in your hot water heater and its connections. This is a sign your hot water heater is going out or that it's time to service the unit. Remember, preventive maintenance extends the life of the unit.
Feehan Plumbing & Heating has been servicing Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County residents for over 40 years. Our licensed and bonded plumbers offer honest answers to all of your plumbing and heating questions and provide cost-effective, permanent solutions to keep your home healthy and safe.