19 Jun. 20

When to Repair a Water Heater

A slowly failing or deteriorating water heater may not seem like too big of a deal. However, once someone has to deal with an ice-cold shower, their opinion may change. A home’s water heater is working around the clock to ensure those in the home have hot water on demand. This results in a lot of stress and wear and tear on the unit. It’s no big surprise that, at some point, it will break down.

When it reaches the point that nothing but cold water is coming out of a person’s showers and taps, it makes it crystal clear that a water heater is an essential appliance in any home. To ensure the situation doesn’t get this bad, it is a good idea to get to know some of the signs that Water heater services are needed from a local plumber. Some of the signs to be aware of that indicate a problem with any water heater is listed below.

Irregular Water Temperatures 

Is hot water present sometimes and then, at other times, the water feels lukewarm or even cold? When fluctuating water temperatures are present, it is a clear sign there is something wrong with the unit. It is smart to call the professionals and have them find what the underlying issue may be. It is also smart to figure out the age of the unit, which is a tell-tale indication repairs may be needed. The older a unit, the more likely problems will arise.

For homeowners with a somewhat new unit, repairing it may make sense. However, for older units, replacing them will make more sense financially. This is going to save a homeowner the stress, time, and money that are typically associated with fixing a water heater time and time again.

What is the cause of a unit losing heat? The most common reason this occurs is that mineral deposits will accumulate inside the water heater. Over time, deposits will build up and cover the heating elements, which prevents them from working properly. If only the heating elements are to blame for the problem, they can be replaced or repaired rather than buying a new unit.

Water Discoloration

When turning on the tap, only clear, colorless water should appear. While it may seem somewhat hazy because of the high water pressure, it should turn colorless once the pressure is evened out. If the water coming out of the tap appears brown in color, looks rusty, or if there are particles in the water, the water heater is the culprit.

Because of sediment, the water may turn brown or change colors. If this happens, it may cause a serious health problem in the home. It is a good idea to check with a professional to see if the unit can be cleaned or repaired to prevent this discoloration. If this doesn’t work, the tank may be rusting and have to be replaced.

Minimal Hot Water

The water heater in a home is designed to keep hot water ready to be used throughout the day. There are two heating elements in a typical unit—one at the top and one at the bottom. At any given time, the tank will have gallons of hot water stored inside.

If someone runs out of hot water while washing dishes or taking a shower, it could mean the heating elements are not working properly.

The Tank Is Making Strange Sounds

As the water heater gets older, it may begin to make a slight buzzing sound. As time passes, it may turn into full-on rumbling sounds. Some homeowners think this is a sign the unit will burst. However, this isn’t the case.

While it is normal for any water heater to make some sounds, if the mineral deposits grow, cracking, popping, and banging sounds may occur. This is a good reason to be concerned. To find out what the underlying problem is, contact the professionals and get them to inspect the unit.

In some situations, the water heater will get louder if there is an accumulation of mineral deposits on the interior of the tank or on the heating elements. Some of the other reasons these sounds may be heard is if the unit has a broken dip tube that causes the hot and cold water to mix.

If there is too much noise created, it can weaken the structure of the unit and cause it to leak. At this point, the best option is to purchase a new unit.

However, if the unit has not begun to leak, the repair technician can flush out all the water and clean the interior parts of the tank. This will stop the sounds and allow the unit to work properly once again.

Indications of Corrosion

Sometimes, corrosion in the water heater means it is time to have a new unit installed. A person can tell that the water heater is corroded if there is rust on the exterior or if the water is brown or otherwise discolored. However, what if this is just a partial problem?

There are some who make it work by having the rusty parts, such as the heat exchanger, replaced. While this is fine, it is also a temporary solution. It provides enough time for the homeowner to get the funds needed to buy a new unit.

On average, water heaters will last for eight to 12 years. If someone wants to extend the unit’s life past this point, it is a good idea to have it cleaned and maintained regularly.

Water Leak

Besides strange sounds, there are other issues that may weaken the structure of a water heater and cause it to leak. This can result in water pooling near the base of the tank.

Along with this being dangerous, particularly for homes with small kids, pets, or electrical devices nearby, it may also cause corrosion that could impact the exterior parts and even cause problems inside the unit. If there is a leak, make sure to have it fixed before it causes even more issues.