If you’re like most people, you rarely think about your water heater until there’s a problem. We don’t blame you — it’s an appliance that spends all of its time hidden in your basement or utility room. No wonder it’s easy to remain blissfully unaware when a problem with your water heater is gradually worsening — until, that is, it fails altogether.
There’s no need to let your water heater reach a point of failure before taking action, especially since you may end up with major leaks or quite possibly an explosion. Paying attention to your old and failing water heater can save you from much more than an ice-cold shower or a soggy carpet.
Here at Anytime Plumbing, we’re experts in hot water heater repairs. Our team knows how to tell when your water heater is about to give out — and what you can do to stop an expensive disaster in its tracks.
Here are a couple of signs to watch out for that might indicate your water heater may require service from a hot water heater repair company.
1. Your Water Heater Is Reaching Its Tenth Birthday
Chances are, you don’t know how old your water heater is. Staying mindful of the age of your water heater is important as the majority of them need to be replaced after ten years. If your water heater is in a location that would be vulnerable to damage should an accident occur (the answer to this is usually yes), you should be ready to replace your heater around the 10-year mark.
How can you tell the age of your water heater? You can determine how old your water heater is by referring to its manufacturer’s sticker, which is located on the heater itself. This sticker will have a serial number on it — look for this number.
What does the serial number mean? The first letter of this string of digits will be between A and L, the first twelve letters of the alphabet. As you might guess, “A” represents January, “B” represents February, and so on. The next two digits will represent a year — “06” will refer to 2006. So if your water heater’s serial number starts with “A06,” your water heater was manufactured in January of 2006.
Keep in mind that while manufacturers use similar date codes, they can vary slightly — visit the manufacturer’s website to learn more on how to decipher their serial numbers.
2. The Water From Your Sink or Shower Is Rusty
Have you noticed that the water from your sink or shower is dirty or rusty? This is a possible indicator that the inside of your water heater is rusting. If this is the case, you should be on the lookout for potential upcoming leaks in your heater.
We also recommend you keep an eye on leaks if you find that only the hot water from your sink or shower is rusty. This may indicate that you need hot water heater repair.
While rusty water is by no means a good sign, it might be your pipes and not your water heater that’s the root cause of the problem. To test whether that’s the case — and to avoid replacing a fully-functioning water heater — what you can do is drain a couple of five-gallon buckets of hot water from your water heater. Does the water still come out rusty even after a few buckets have been drained? If yes, your water heater is almost certainly the culprit.
Another telltale sign that your water heater requires special care is an unusual smell or taste in the water coming from your sink or shower. The descriptions we receive from homeowners vary from metallic at best to the smell of rotten eggs at worst. A foul odor emanating from your water signals that it’s high time to get a plumber on the phone.
3. Your Water Heater Is More Vocal Than Usual
Water heaters are supposed to operate soundlessly. If you start hearing unusual sounds like banging, rumbling, or popping coming from your basement or utility room, it may be time to call a plumbing company and look into replacing your water heater.
Noises from your water heater are caused by sediments in the tank that have built up and hardened over time. Accumulation of these sediments lessens the efficiency of your heater, forcing it to use more energy to heat the same amount of water.
These sediments can also damage your heater — if you begin noticing your water heater rumble, check the heater’s surface for any small holes that may have developed. Finding a leak is a sure sign your heater needs to be replaced.
4. There’s Water Around Your Water Heater
Hopefully, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the water in your water heater is supposed to remain inside the appliance and its connecting pipes — never outside, where it can cause damage to floors, walls, and potentially the foundation of your home.
Even as a puddle gathers on the floor around your water heater, you should be careful pointing fingers at your heater before doing a thorough investigation. Check the surrounding pipes for leaks — are there holes in the temperature and pressure overflow pipe? If the fittings and connections to the tank are perfectly dry, it’s likely that your water heater has reached the end of its days.
5. Your Water Heater Is Not Working Like It Used To
Does the water in the shower keep turning cold no matter how far you crank the temperature knob? Again, sediment in the tank of your water heater may be the culprit. A buildup of sediment interferes with your water heater’s ability to carry out its life’s purpose — to heat water. The end result is longer and longer wait times to reach the temperature you want in the shower.
So, You Need a Hot Water Heater Repair Service. What’s Next?
If you’ve discovered any of these telltale signs and are worried that your water heater is about to give out, the next step is to call a professional hot water heater repair company. Hesitating to get a plumbing company on the phone can end up costing you quite a bit in the long run.
Don’t make the mistake of waiting for an emergency and call Anytime Plumbing. We offer a wide range of hot water heater repair services, including installation, repair, and replacement. We specialize in gas, tankless, and electric water heaters, and can service both commercial and residential water heaters.
Here at Anytime Plumbing, we’re more than happy to work with you to tackle just about any issue that could arise with your water heater and to help you figure out an affordable solution. Get a no-obligation, free consultation today by giving us a call at 831-431-6593, or filling out an online form here.