About 17% of the energy used in your home goes towards your water heater, and it’s easy to take hot water for granted until suddenly something goes wrong. Thankfully, water heaters seldom fail without showing signs, which makes it all the more important to know what to be on the lookout for.
If your water heater is leaking, this is a sign that it is failing and that you’ll need to call in a plumber to diagnose and fix the problem. The best-case scenario is that connections have come loose or the valves aren’t fully closed. However, if your tank itself is leaking, you’ll need to replace the whole thing.
2. Less Hot Water
If you haven’t flushed your water heater lately, it’s possible that you’re running out of hot water more quickly due to sediment accumulating in the tank leaving less room for water. If this isn’t fixed soon enough, the amount of sediment can become too much to flush, causing clogs and corrosion in the valves, requiring you to replace the whole unit. If you’re unsure about how much sediment is in your tank, call in a plumber to have them take a look.
3. Discolored Water
Discolored or rusty water is another sign to look for, and it could be a sign that the coating in your tank has started to corrode. If you’ve just started to notice discoloration, a plumber may be able to replace the anode rods and extend the life of your unit, but replacement is something to keep in mind.
4. Strange Noises
Strange noises coming from your water heater is another sign that you should call in a plumber to have your unit checked. Often, this is caused by the heating element going bad, although it can mean a number of other issues as well. For instance, you could have a clog, poor water flow, or loose connections and valves. A plumber will be able to let you know if your system just needs to be serviced or whether it needs replacement.
The age of your unit can also be telling, as most only last between six and 12 years, with anything beyond serving as borrowed time. Most units will have an installation date on them, but if they don’t, you can always check the brand name and serial number online to get a date. If you have an old unit, replacing it can not just prevent failure, but it could save you money if you opt for an energy-saving replacement.
If you have noticed any of these signs in your water heater, don’t wait to call in a plumber. The longer you wait the most severe the problem can become, and eventually, your unit may stop working altogether.