All home appliances slowly wear out over years of use and need to be replaced or repaired, but when your water heater breaks down the problem can be much bigger than being surprised by a cold shower. If you don’t invest in regular water heater repair or replace your water heater before it quits working completely, you could have a major leak on your hands and expensive water damage in your home.
Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for disaster to strike. Here are 4 ways you can know that it’s time to repair or replace your water heater before the damage is done:
Rattling and Rumbling
When a water heater ages, sediment builds up at the bottom of the tank. This sediment hardens into a solid mass as it’s heated and reheated, making the water heater less efficient.
If it sounds like a herd of elephants or a drum line is coming through your home every time you turn on the hot water, it’s time to replace your unit. It won’t be long before the hardened sediment begins to create tiny holes and cracks in the tank, leading to leaks and water damage.
Rust, Corrosion, and Water Discoloration
Take a look at your water heater and note any areas of visible rust or corrosion. Specifically, look around the inlet and outlet connections and the temperature and pressure relief valves, as these are places that will show corrosion first.
Similarly, if you notice rusty water coming from your heater, the most likely cause is rust inside the tank. To be sure that the rust is coming from your water heater and not your pipes, empty the water into a gallon bucket. If the water isn’t running clear after two or three buckets, your tank is rusting and needs to be replaced.
Pools of Water Around the Heater
As the metal heats, it expands, which will force water out of any small cracks or fissures in the tank. When the tank cools, the leaking stops, resulting in small pools of water around the water heater but not a full-fledged leak.
To make sure that the water is coming from the heater, check the temperature overflow pipe and all connections and fittings. If these are dry, then the water is coming from the tank and the heater needs to be replaced.
Lukewarm Showers and Dirty Dishes
Maybe you hopped into the shower and couldn’t get the water to your preferred temperature, even after cranking the hot faucet all the way up. Or, maybe you opened your dishwasher to discover the dishes didn’t get the heated rinse they need to get sparkling clean. If your water isn’t getting heated, it’s usually a sign that your heater is beyond repair and needs to be replaced.
In addition to these four signs, keep tabs on the age of your water heater. Depending on use, most units last around 10 years. If your unit is over 10 years old and located where a leak could cause significant water damage to your home, it’s best to get it replaced rather than risk further use.
To keep your water heater in proper working order and extend its life, consider regular maintenance checks and scheduled water heater repair. Contact us for more information or to schedule a maintenance check. It could save you thousands!