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Telltale Signs of a Failing Water Heater

The availability of warm, running water in the majority of households is vital in order to have normal everyday living. The average person could end up using up the water of varying warmth more than 20 times per day which includes frequent hand–washing, showers, baths, cooking, dish–cleaning, and doing laundry. The demands placed on the water heater are brought into perspective when you would multiply that usage by every single household member. It is bound that sooner or later, the water heater will need to be replaced. But how do you recognize a failing water heater?

No matter if the reason is due to its age or usage strain of the tank, water heaters do, just like everything else have a certain lifespan. True, it is possible to prolong the life of your water heater with yearly maintenance, although, there is a chance you will need to have the old tank replaced with a new one eventually if you live in one house for more than 8 years. If unsure, these are signs that your water heater is failing. 

Failing Water Heater Clue: Popping and Rumbling Sound

In case that your water heater is producing a strange rumbling or popping sound, the chances are that you might need to do a serious repair. These tanks are made in a way to operate without any noise. So this is a sign of concern. Experts from would agree that a noisy water heater is not uncommon, however, sometimes that noise may not be benevolent. Usually, these sounds are created when air or other sediments get trapped within the mineral deposits. You can periodically flush your heater in order to steer clear of expensive repairs. However, sediment will build upon the bottom of the tank over time as it ages which will eventually bring it to harden up.

The ability to create enough warm water, for a water heater that is nearing the end of its service life, or after it develops a major problem, is not possible. Also, systems that are old and have not been maintained for a long time have a layer of sediment that has accumulated. It will create a layer that will block the space which is meant to be occupied by the water. 

As an addition, a barrier created by sediment will prevent the heat from reaching the water. When something like this happens, you will recognize it by rumbling or banging sounds that are coming from a water heater as it is heating up. 

The useful life of the water heater at this point is done. If unsure, having a layer of hardened sediments would mean:

  • The heater will be less efficient and will have to use more electricity or gas in order to heat the water
  • The water heater will receive more damage over time while warming up the water which will cause more wear on the metal tank which can develop small holes that can burst open. 
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Photo by Alex Boyd on Unsplash

Failing Water Heater Clue: Bad Smell and the Rust

In case the water from your water heater smells like rotten eggs, you will know something is not right. There is a chance that your tank has developed corrosion on the inside. In order to prevent the progression of the problem itself, it would be wise to clean up your tank or replace its anode. In case the problem continues, the advisable thing to do is to consult a water heater installation expert. 

Similar would apply in the case that you notice rusty water coming out from your water heater. Especially if the water only comes from the hot side piping of your home. There is a great chance that this is a sign that your water heater will begin to leak soon and is rusting away on the inside. If you would like to make a test whether you should replace a potentially functioning water heater is to drain it out in a few five-gallon buckets. 

You will know if the problem is serious and replacement is inevitable if there is more rusty water after the third bucket. 

These were signs that you have a failing water heater. Since water is as mentioned, one of the most used resources in every family, it would be wise to send your tank for a repair or obtain a new one if you see any of these clues. 

In order to avoid the situation of not having access to warm water, the wise thing would be to deal with the issue as soon as it is possible.