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Signs Of Trouble With Your Hot Water Heater

Worker wearing a white hat and holding a note pad looking at white hot water heater.

As a local plumber specializing in Santa Rosa hot water heater repair, I’ve seen my fair share of issues that homeowners often overlook until it’s too late. In this post, we’ll dive into the eight red flags that signal your hot water heater might be in trouble. Whether it’s a minor issue that can be fixed with a quick repair or a sign of a more serious problem requiring professional attention, understanding these signs is crucial for maintaining a safe and efficient hot water system in your home. Stay tuned as we explore these common issues and provide expert advice on how to handle them.

Here are some signs your hot water heater is failing.

Insufficient Hot Water

This is one of the earliest signs that your hot water heater is going bad. If your water heater is not providing as much hot water as it used to, or if the water is not as hot as before, the heating element may have developed a problem. The problem can also be caused by sediment buildup. If you have a tankless water heater, there is a strong possibility that a mechanical or electrical problem is affecting your hot water heater’s performance.

Unusual Noises

It’s not unusual for water heaters to make some noises when in operation, however, loud, strange noises could indicate an underlying problem. Loud rumbling, popping, or cracking noises coming from your water heater can indicate sediment buildup, which can affect your unit’s heating efficiency and it may have to work harder and longer to heat the water. An overworked hot water heater uses more electricity and can overheat.

Cloudy or Rusty Water

A water heater has an anode or sacrificial rod designed to protect the interior of the unit from corrosion. If the hot water coming out of your taps is cloudy or has a rusty color, the anode rod may have started to fail. The problem deserves your immediate attention. You will need to contact your expert plumbing contractor as soon as possible.

Leakage Around the Water Heater

A leaking water heater is a recipe for disaster. It can damage floors, furniture, carpets, and walls. If your water heater is leaking, its pressure relief valve may be damaged. Other common causes of leaks include a loose cold water inlet valve and a cracked or corroded tank. If you ignore the problem, your hot water heater can sustain irreversible damage and you may be forced to replace it sooner than you expected.

Inconsistent Water Temperature

Varying water temperature could be caused by an improperly calibrated thermostat. If you are using the right thermostat setting and your thermostat is working properly, your hot water heater’s heating element may have become damaged.

High Energy Bill

Is your energy bill going up? Your water heater may be to blame. From sediment buildup to internal rust, there are several things that can affect the efficiency of a water heater. An inefficient water heater is an energy guzzler.

Poor Water Pressure

As your hot water heater heats the water, calcium, magnesium and other naturally-occurring minerals in it break down into sediment particles and settle at the bottom of the tank. Over time, these particles can build up, affecting your hot water heater’s efficiency. One of the most common signs of sediment buildup is low water pressure.

Smelly hot Water

If your hot water smells strange, anaerobic bacteria in it may have reacted with the anode rod. To address the problem, drain your hot water heater and clean it thoroughly. Consider treating your water to soften it. If your anode rod is too old (the lifespan of an anode rod usually varies between 3 and 5 years) replace it to prevent performance and other problems. Reach out to your local Santa Rosa Plumber for advice and guidance.

Hot Water Heater Maintenance Tips

Why wait for your hot water heater to develop problems and then address them when you can prevent hot water heater problems in the first place with regular maintenance? Periodic hot water heater maintenance can save you money down the road by addressing current problems and preventing potential issues. Well-maintained hot water heaters are reliable and usually need less frequent repairs (and therefore cost less to run) than poorly maintained water heaters.

Here are some strategies to help keep your hot water heater working at its peak efficiency.

Regularly Inspect Your Water Heater

Visually inspect your hot water heater at least once a year. Look for signs of wear or damage, such as leaks, rust, or corrosion. If you notice any problems, carry out necessary repairs in a timely manner to prevent them from getting worse.

Test the TPR Valve

Your water heater’s temperature pressure relief valve is designed to release excess pressure. To make sure your TPR valve is working properly, first shut off the power and then place a bucket under the tap connected to the TPR valve. Slowly lift the lever and let it snap back into its position. If you hear a gurgling sound as water flows, your TPR valve is working the way it should.

Check the Anode rod

Your water heater’s anode rod helps prevent corrosion. To check if your anode rod is functional, fit a 1-1/6 inch socket onto the hex head. If its thickness is less than 1/2 inch, replace your anode rod.

Schedule Professional Maintenance

Have a professional inspect and maintain your hot water heater annually. Regular professional maintenance can help maintain the efficiency of your hot water heater. During maintenance sessions, your plumbing contractor tests every part and repairs or replaces the ones that have become damaged to prevent costly problems.

Drain and flush the Tank

Sediment buildup can affect your hot water heater’s efficiency. Annually drain a few gallons from the tank to remove sediment. After cleaning your tank, refill it and turn the unit on.

Santa Rosa Plumbing is a renowned plumbing contractor in Santa Rosa. Regardless of how complicated the plumbing problem you’re trying to deal with is, we can come up with an effective solution. For a free estimate by phone, call us today at (707) 544-FLOW.