Top 5 Signs of Water Heater Failure

Apr 17, 2020
water heater failure

We all use hot water in a number of ways throughout the entire year. From cooking and cleaning to bathing and space heating, hot water is an essential part of our lives. So when hot water stops coming out of our sinks and showers, were there any signs we could’ve noticed to fix it sooner? Here are five signs that you are experiencing a water heater failure.

There’s Not Enough Hot Water in the Water Heater

This is something that usually happens over time. The water temperature slowly drops until all you’re getting is lukewarm water out of the hot side. Or it takes forever for hot water to get to the tap.

Both are signs that the heating element isn’t making good contact with the water. The most likely culprit is sediment build-up in the tank. Your water heating costs are also likely rising because the heating element is working overtime to just keep your water lukewarm.

The best solution is to have the tank flushed to remove sediment. If the heating element has gone bad, you may have to have it replaced at the same time.

The Water in the Water Heater Is Cloudy

When you run the hot water, does it come out cloudy or even rust colored? Does it taste metallic or funky? All of these are signs the water heater has a major sediment build-up. The loose sediment is traveling through the pipes, making the water look and taste funny.

You can use a water filter to remove the particulates and most of the taste. A good tank flush can remove some sediment. However, if the rust or corrosion has reached the pipes or inside the water heater, the only solution is to replace them.

The Water Heater Is Rumbling or Popping

Sediment on the bottom of the water heater tank is often the reason why the system makes rumbling or popping noises. Water bubbles trapped on the sediment rise up to the top as the water heats up. This makes the noise you hear.

The first step is to have the tank flushed to remove sediment. If it still makes those noises after the flush, the tank is on the brink of a leak or crack. You should start to plan on replacing it before it fails completely.

The Pressure Relief Valve Isn’t Working Properly

The temperature and pressure relief (TPR) valve opens to relieve pressure inside the tank, caused by high temperatures. This helps to prevent a potential explosion. There are two conditions to pay particular attention to.

First, is the TPR valve leaking? That’s a sign it won’t work properly if pressure gets too high. The second condition is a TPR valve that isn’t working at all. It’s a good idea to test the valve periodically. When you lift it, the hot water should automatically flow out of the valve. If it doesn’t, the valve has already failed.

If you suspect your TPR valve isn’t working properly, call a plumber out immediately. The valve may need to be replaced or it may be a sign of a more significant problem.

The Water Heater Tank Is Leaking

Probably the most visible sign of a water heater failure is a leaking tank. Water will pool beneath the system. You may see it pouring out of a crack somewhere in the tank, which means the entire system needs to be replaced. You may see it coming from the TPR valve, which may mean you only need the valve replaced. In either case, the best solution is to turn off the water supply to the tank and to call a professional.

If you see any sign of water heater failure, you need to call in the professionals. We’ve been serving the Savannah area for over 50 years. Let us get your hot water flowing again.

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