A fully functional water heater is an integral part of any modern home, providing the comfort of hot water for showers, dishwashing, and laundry. However, like all appliances, water heaters can deteriorate over time and may eventually need repair. Recognizing the signs of a damaged water heater is crucial.
Timely identification and rectification can prevent inconvenient disruptions and costly water damage. The good news is that spotting these signs is more straightforward than you might think. From sudden changes in water temperature to unusual noises, your water heater might be sending signals that it’s time for a check-up.
1. Sudden Changes in Water Temperature
If your hot water turns cold abruptly, or you’re experiencing inconsistently warm showers, it might indicate a faulty heating element. One of the main reasons for this might be a damaged dip tube, which is responsible for delivering cold water to the bottom of the heater. This causes hot and cold water to mix, resulting in lukewarm showers. In some cases, a malfunctioning thermostat might also cause temperature issues since it can’t control the heating element correctly.
Another potential reason for temperature changes is a buildup of sediment in the tank, which interferes with the heating process. This sediment originates from the minerals and other particles that enter your water supply, so if you’re using an old tank that’s never been thoroughly flushed out and descaled, it might be causing problems.
2. Low Water Pressure
You may have noticed that your showers are losing their pressure and the water isn’t coming out as forcefully. One of the most common causes of this is a clog in the pipes, but it can also indicate issues with your water heater. Sediment buildup inside the tank can lead to reduced water flow and even complete blockage if it accumulates to a certain level.
Have you been noticing wet floors or water stains around your water heater? This will usually indicate a leak, which could be caused by one or more common issues. For example, corrosion, which is caused by a buildup of mineral deposits, might cause holes to wear in the tank. In addition, broken connections and pipes are also common sources of leaks.
Another reason for a leak might be an overflowing pressure relief valve. This could occur due to high water temperatures or too much pressure building up inside the tank. When this happens, the pressure relief valve is designed to open and release some of this pressure. If it’s stuck in the open position due to a broken spring or mechanical issue, water will continue to leak from it.
4. Unusual Noises
If you hear strange sounds coming from your water heater or notice rumbling, popping, or crackling noises during operation, it might be a sign that sediment has built up inside the tank. As we mentioned earlier, minerals in the water can accumulate over time and create a thick layer of sediment. This has two effects â€” it reduces the efficiency of your heater and causes metal components to vibrate when hot water moves through them. In some cases, this can lead to corrosion, damaging the tank from within. If you hear such noises coming from your water heater, it’s important to have a plumbing professional inspect the unit as soon as possible.
Another potential cause of strange sounds might be a broken dip tube. If it’s blocked or damaged, cold water won’t enter the bottom of the tank as intended. This can cause pressure to build up, resulting in loud banging noises. In some cases, this might even cause the water heater to explode.
5. Discolored or Rusty Water
Your water heater contains a component known as the anode rod, which is responsible for protecting the interior of the tank from corrosion. Over time, this rod will eventually corrode itself and cause rust-colored water to appear in your taps. If you’re seeing rusty water coming out of your faucets, it could be an indication that your anode rod needs replacing.
Rusty water might also indicate that there’s a crack in the tank. This could be caused by corrosion or thermal expansion, which occurs when water is heated and causes it to expand slightly. In either case, you should call a plumber to inspect your water heater immediately. In this case, a professional may recommend that you replace the unit entirely or repair the damage if possible.
6. Rising Energy Bills
If your water heater isn’t operating efficiently, it could cause your energy bills to rise unexpectedly. One of the biggest reasons for this is a buildup of sediment inside the tank, which can reduce the efficiency of your water heater by up to 40%. Replacing an old, inefficient unit with a newer model could help you save money in the long run. This will usually be caused by an accumulation of sediment in the tank, which interferes with the heating process and forces the unit to work harder than necessary.
Sometimes, a faulty thermostat might be the culprit, as it won’t be able to control the heating element correctly. If it’s not adjusted properly, your heater will need to work harder and longer to maintain the desired temperature â€” resulting in higher energy bills.
7. You’re Running Out of Hot Water Quickly
Your water heater should match the overall size of your home, as well as the number of people living in it. If you’re running out of hot water quickly and find yourself taking shorter showers than usual, your heater might be too small for your needs. In this case, upgrading to a larger model may be necessary.
On the other hand, if you recently moved into a bigger house or added new family members, it could also be a sign that you need to get a bigger water heater. To make sure that you get the right unit, it’s important to have an expert inspect your existing model and recommend a replacement.
Overall, paying attention to these seven common signs of water heater damage could help you prevent major issues down the line. If you experience any of them, it might be time to call in a professional for an inspection.
Contact the Professionals
At Bacon Plumbing Heating Air Electric, we pride ourselves on offering a comprehensive suite of services to cater to your home’s every need, beyond just water heater repair and maintenance. Our expert team is equipped to handle heating and cooling system repair, maintenance, and installation, ensuring your home remains comfortable no matter the season.
Our broad range of plumbing services covers everything from leak detection to sump pump and water heater installation and repair. We also specialize in drain and sewer services, helping keep your home’s plumbing systems running smoothly and efficiently. We are proud to serve the greater Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, delivering top-quality service to our community. If you’re experiencing any issues with your appliances or systems, contact us today and let our experienced technicians provide the solution you need.