Your water heater works round the clock to provide you with hot water wherever you need it. Most people don’t know their water heater is going bad until they are greeted with a cold shower. You don’t have to wait that long for a water heater repair.
Here are 5 common signs that it is time to call the professionals for a water heater repair.
1. Your Water Heater Is Making Unusual Sounds
The most common reason why your water heater is making strange noises is sediment collecting at the bottom of your heater. The unusual sounds you are hearing are caused when hot water bubbles up through the layer of sediment at the bottom of the tank.
When this happens it sounds like a popping sound. Don’t worry, there is a solution to your sediment problem.
A water heater repair service can flush out your heater for you. Periodically flushing out your water heater prevents sediment from building up.
To flush out your water heater a repairman will empty the tank and open the cold water intake. Then they will fill the tank halfway while allowing this stream of water to wash away sediment at the bottom of your tank.
The water empties through the drain valve. This process repeats until there isn’t any sediment left in the tank.
Water sediment is natural, especially for homes that have hard water. Consider installing a water softener in your home to keep your tank free from sediment.
Don’t allow sediment to build up. It can lead to much larger problems. If sediment is built up in your tank the bottom of your tank can rust and leak. Once your water heater starts to leak you will need a water heater replacement service which is much more costly than a simple water heater flush.
If sediment build-up isn’t the cause of the noise it could be one of these other possibilities.
- You may hear a sizzling sound if the relief valve isn’t fully closed.
- If you hear a ticking noise it could be a fluctuation in water pressure or a loose pipe that holds the hot water lines coming from the heater.
2. Your Water Is Different
Another sign of water heater problems is your water may be different or “off”. If your water smells different or appears discolored it could be your water heater.
If your water is brown, yellow, or red this could indicate you have rust in your water. Rust can come from the pipes running into your house or your water heater. A common solution is to install a water filtration system in your home.
Iron doesn’t present a health issue, however, it can taste weird and stain your clothing or dishes.
White or tan particles floating in your water is from the pipes or the water heater. This is one of the common hot water heater issues. White particles are calcium or magnesium and are not harmful to ingest.
These particles can cause clogs in your pipes and drain overtime when they build up. If you see these particles in your water it could be time to clean your water heater’s heating elements. Your water heater repair service can clean your water heater and let you know if it’s a problem with your heater or with your pipes.
Smelly water or water that smells like sulfur is a sign of bacteria growth in your water heater. Usually, this problem only exists if the water heater hasn’t been used in quite some time or if the thermostat was set too low.
The bacteria isn’t harmful to your health but the smell can be very off-putting making the water difficult to drink.
If your water smells it is usually because the anode rod in your water heater is corroded. Call a water heater repair service and tell them about the problem. They can come out to your home and install an anode rod and have your water back to normal.
3. Your Water Heater is Leaking
If your water heater is leaking it is a sign that you need a water heater repair service. Water heaters begin to leak for several different reasons.
Loose Drain Valve
One of the common causes for the water heater to leak is simply a loose drain valve. If water appears to be leaking from the valve you can try tightening it with a wrench until it is snug against your heater.
Be careful not to over-tighten this valve. That can cause additional problems.
Sometimes a water heater can build up too much pressure. This will cause your water heater to leak. If your heater’s temperature is set too high or the supply of water coming into your heater is too hot it can be too much for your tank to handle.
Water heaters have a glass-lined storage tank at the bottom. Over time and through normal use natural minerals in the water will build up inside of your tank. This can crack your heater’s glass lining.
A cracked lining is a common reason why water heaters leak. Also, as your water heats up it expands. Over time with use this expansion can stress the glass lining and cause it to crack.
Unfortunately, if this happens you will need water heater installation services because your heater will need to be replaced. Cracks in the glass lining of a heater are not repairable.
Sometimes these leaks can affect the performance of your heater and sometimes they won’t. As long as the water leak isn’t causing damage you can wait a while to replace it if you need to, but you should start making plans to replace it soon.
Have a professional take a look at your heater’s leak. They will spot the problem and prevent future damage.
4. You Don’t Have Enough Hot Water
When you begin to notice that you don’t have enough hot water to take a shower or wash the dishes it may be a sign that you need a water heater repair service to take a look at your heater.
This one is tricky to self-diagnose because many different problems could be causing this.
If your house has gas your gas control valve could be broken. If you have an electric heater it could also be a sign that your thermostat is broken. Both of these issues can be fixed easily.
The dip tube inside your water heater could have gone bad. This would cause a significant reduction in the flow of hot water.
If your water heater is eight years old or older and it hasn’t had routine flushes there could be a build-up of sediment in your tank causing the issue. Sediment can reduce the amount of hot water your heater can make at a given time.
It’s also possible that your hot water habits have increased over time and you require a larger tank. It’s hard to say without having someone look at the problem first-hand.
Normally the problem of not having enough hot water can be fixed pretty easily. Call your water heater repair service and tell them about your problem. They will come out to your home and be able to diagnose the problem and make the repair.
5. Your Water Temperature Is Fluctuating
If your water pressure is fluctuating it is a sign that your water heater may need to be repaired. In an electric water heater, the upper and lower thermostats must fit snug against the side of the tank. This helps them to regulate the temperature of your water correctly.
Your water heater repairman will turn off the power to the heater and remove the access covers to check your thermostats position. It may need a simple adjustment of the brackets and then you could be back in business.
A failed thermometer or water heating element is also another possibility. In an electric water heater water fluctuations is a common sign of a failed thermostat. Your repairman will check the heating elements and thermostats to make sure they are in working order.
Replace any broken thermostats or heating elements and your water fluctuations should be a problem of the past.
Sediment build-up at the bottom of your tank can also cause these fluctuations. If it has been over a year since you’ve had your water heater flushed this could be the answer. Have a water heater repair service come out and service your heater.
Water Heater Repair Is Simple When Spotted Early
A water heater repair doesn’t have to be difficult. If you spot it early it can be a simple fix. Have you seen any of these 5 common signs that it is time for a water heater repair?