Water heaters always seem to leak or break down at the most inconvenient times, like right before you need to head out the door or even in the middle of a shower! However, it’s important to realize that water heaters often show signs that they’re going to fail before they finally do. These clues are your water heater’s version of “senioritis”: it’s just ready to be done and move on.
If your water heater displays any of the following signs, it’s time to start shopping around for a replacement.
1. The tank is making noise.
Your water heater should function quietly and efficiently. If you hear the unit “complaining,” then you know there’s a problem. As tank water heaters age, they can start to make banging, rumbling, or knocking sounds. These noises occur because a hardened layer of sediment is coating the bottom of the tank, right over the heating element. Whenever air bubbles trapped by the sediment finally burst through, they’ll make the banging or rumbling noise you hear.
Flushing your tank periodically can slow down this problem, but once your water heater is around ten years old, flushing it will only be useful as a short-term solution.
2. Your hot water is cloudy or rusty.
When you turn on the hot water in your shower or at the sink, is it discolored? Does it look murky or smell somewhat metallic? If so, there’s a strong probability that the lining inside your water heater is wearing away, and, in turn, the tank’s interior wall is corroding. When a water heater tank starts to rust, it’s only a matter of time before a leak forms in the weakened metal.
3. There’s water around your water heater.
While it isn’t unheard of for water heaters to collect condensation, keep an eye out for moisture on or around the unit–it could be from a small leak in the tank. When a hole first forms in a water heater, it may not always be visible because of how the tank expands and contracts according to its temperature. While some water heater leaks can be repaired, if the tank itself leaks, you should replace the whole unit to avoid major water damage problems.
It’s also important to keep in mind that most water heaters have an average lifespan of ten years. If you own an old water heater, and if it’s located in an area of your home that could be significantly impacted by a leak, experts recommend replacing the unit before a significant issue occurs.
At Service Specialties, every water heater we install has been tested under the most extreme water temperatures and has been built to last. Contact our expert Centreville plumbers today to schedule a water heater inspection or request a quote for a new water heater installation: (703) 968-0606.