Is Your Water Heater on the Fritz?

Your water heater is one of those unsung heroes in your home, quietly working away to provide you with hot water for showers, dishes, and laundry.

However, like any other appliance, it has a lifespan, and eventually, it may start showing signs of wear and tear. Ignoring these signs could lead to unexpected cold showers or even water damage in your home. So, how can you tell if your water heater is on the brink of failure?

Here are five key indicators to look out for:

1. Age of the Water Heater:
The age of your water heater is one of the most significant factors in determining its lifespan. Most conventional water heaters last between 8 to 12 years, depending on factors like usage, maintenance, and water quality. If your water heater is approaching or exceeding this age range, it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on its performance. Even if it seems to be functioning normally, older units are more prone to failure and should be replaced preventatively.

2. Strange Noises:
Over time, sediment can build up at the bottom of your water heater tank. This sediment is typically composed of minerals present in the water supply. As the water heater heats up, the sediment hardens and can cause popping, rumbling, or banging noises. These sounds indicate that your water heater is struggling to heat water efficiently, and the buildup of sediment can reduce its overall lifespan. If you notice unusual sounds coming from your water heater, it may be time to consider flushing the tank or replacing the unit altogether.

3. Rusty or Discolored Water:
Rusty or discolored water coming from your taps is a clear sign that your water heater may be deteriorating from the inside. As metal components corrode over time, rust particles can mix with the water supply, giving it a reddish or brownish tint. In addition to being unsightly, rusty water can also have an unpleasant odor and taste. If you notice rusty water when you turn on the hot tap, it’s essential to address the issue promptly to prevent further damage to your water heater and plumbing system.

4. Leaks or Moisture Around the Unit:
Leaks or moisture around your water heater can indicate a variety of issues, from a loose valve to a corroded tank. Even small leaks can lead to significant water damage over time, so it’s crucial to investigate any signs of moisture promptly. Check for puddles or dampness around the base of the water heater, as well as any signs of corrosion or rust on the tank itself. If you discover a leak, it’s best to shut off the water supply to the heater and call a professional plumber to assess the situation.

5. Inconsistent Water Temperature:
If you find yourself constantly adjusting the temperature on your water heater or experiencing fluctuations in water temperature, it could be a sign of impending failure. A properly functioning water heater should consistently deliver hot water at the desired temperature. However, issues like a faulty thermostat, heating element, or sediment buildup can cause fluctuations in temperature. If you’re struggling to maintain a steady supply of hot water, it’s time to have your water heater inspected by a professional.

In conclusion, keeping an eye out for these five warning signs can help you determine if your water heater is on the verge of failure. Regular maintenance, such as flushing the tank and checking for leaks, can prolong the life of your water heater and prevent unexpected breakdowns. However, if you notice any of these indicators, it’s best to consult with a qualified plumber to assess the situation and determine whether repair or replacement is necessary. By addressing issues proactively, you can ensure that your home continues to enjoy a reliable supply of hot water for years to come.

Contact Gem Heating & Air Conditioning for all heating, cooling and water heater needs!