Hot Water heaters rank among the things we seldom think about in our daily lives, that is until our water heater fails. When it breaks down and quits, the event easily becomes a crisis as your water heater loses its afterthought status and suddenly occupies all your waking thoughts.
So, to help you be proactive in preventing an unpleasant and untimely water heater failure, here’s a quick checklist of warning signs for you to run down.
1. LUKEWARM WATER
If your showers aren’t as warm as they once were, and you didn’t intentionally cause it by lowering the setpoint temperature on your thermostat, then it could be a sign you’re reaching the end of the expected useful life of your water heater.
Heating the water naturally causes minerals to precipitate out of the water, and over time these minerals form deposits that settle at the bottom of the storage tank. A heavy accumulation of these deposits forms a barrier between the heating elements and the water inside the tank that impedes the transfer of heat, wasting energy and putting excessive stress on the tank and other components at best, and at worst yielding lukewarm or tepid water.
This condition can be minimized through a program of scheduled maintenance that includes a periodic flushing of your water heater. Such maintenance can add years of service life to the heater.
A simple flushing might help bring your water heater back to life, however when periodic flushing hasn’t been maintained, the neglect can lead to a domino effect of other problems with your water heater necessitating a replacement. Additionally, over time accumulated deposits harden and can form sizable chunks too large to flush.
Give us a call and we can make a professional assessment of your particular situation.
2. STRANGE POPPING AND RUMBLING NOISES
The condition we discussed above can cause the “popcorn machine” sounds you might hear as your water heater cycles to replenish the hot water in its tank.
Water trapped by the sediment at the bottom of the tank begins to percolate up through the deposits and makes the popping and cracking sounds as it bubbles up and escapes into the tank.
3. RUSTY, CLOUDY OR MURKY HOT WATER COMING FROM YOUR FAUCETS
Rust colored water coming from your faucets when you turn on the hot tap is a clear sign of impending failure of your water heater tank. The water might also just appear cloudy or murky and have a strange metallic odor or taste.
Water heaters come with an anti-corrosion feature built in called anode rods. These rods are sacrificial, meaning they are designed and intended to decay through galvanic corrosion over time, sacrificing themselves while sparing the tank.
Once depleted, these anode rods can be replaced to extend the service life of your water heater, however if the tank has already begun to corrode it’s probably too late. It’s only a matter of time before the tank rusts though and leaks as it fails catastrophically, necessitating a water heater replacement.
4. LEAKS OR PUDDLES OF WATER AROUND YOUR WATER HEATER
Leaks and puddles around your water heater don’t always indicate a failed water heater. The leak could be caused by a leaky supply line or fitting, a faulty shutoff valve, or a failing temperature and pressure relief valve (T&P). If such is the case, we can fix you up in a jiffy and save you the expense of a complete replacement of the unit.
However, if the storage tank of your water heater has developed a leak, unfortunately the only fix it to replace the entire unit. These tanks cannot be welded, patched or repaired.
HOW LONG DO WATER HEATERS LAST?
Has Your water heater surpassed its expected service life? In the Las Vegas valley you can expect a residential water heater to last about 8 to 12 years. Regardless, if you give us a call we can check things out and also check the warranty status for you. We service and supply all major brands.
PROFESSIONAL WATER HEATER REPLACEMENT WHEN IT’S CONVENIENT FOR YOU
We’ve all heard the adage that the best protection is prevention, and that certainly applies to important major plumbing appliances. If you know ahead of time that its days are numbered, you have a window of opportunity to schedule a water heater replacement at your convenience, according to your schedule, rather than facing a catastrophe that requires an expensive emergency service at the worst possible time, for example when guests might be visiting for the holidays.