A broken water heater is a big hassle when you want to take a shower, but even worse, it can cause serious damage to your home. Before it gets to that point, your heater will show warning signs that it's in need of repair, and it pays to know those symptoms so you can get issues solved before the worst case scenario happens.
But what are the signs you need water heater repair services? Should you do it yourself or hire a professional? If you don’t have the answers to these questions, you might feel stressed. You’re probably also wondering which repairs are really necessary.
Once you know some signs to watch out for, you can find out what’s wrong and get it fixed. This way, you can avoid extensive damage to your home and keep your hot water flowing. This guide identifies six signs that your water heater needs attention from a professional.
1. Produces Less Hot Water
If you’re taking your shower and it suddenly goes from hot to cold, this isn’t just an unpleasant experience. It’s also a sign that repairs are needed.
Usually, the cause of temperature problems is that mineral deposits have accumulated inside your tank. When this happens, the mineral build-up flakes off the sides of the tank and settles on the bottom where it can block access to heating elements. It also takes up space inside the tank so it's not able to hold as much volume as it did before.
2. Low Pressure From Hot Tap
When you turn on your hot tap and pressure is low, but you don't have the same problem with your cold tap, it is likely related to the heater. This can also be caused by the accumulation of mineral deposits, since sediment can make its way from the tank into your pipes. Other issues can also affect pressure, including faulty installation or kinking distribution lines.
3. Discolored Water
If you notice discolored, rusty-looking water, or little bits of sediment in hot but not cold, it is probably being caused by rust and corrosion inside the tank. However, there is another reason why rust might be present. Do you have galvanized piping? If so, then your pipes might be the culprits behind the discoloration.
Fortunately, there is a strategy you can use to determine which of these problems is causing rust. Drain some five-gallon buckets full of hot water through the tank. If the fluid is still rusty by the last bucket, then your tank is rusty inside. If it isn’t, then your pipes are the problem.
4. Dripping Inside or Outside the Tank
Leaking is another sign of trouble. It may seem obvious, but this is actually a symptom that many homeowners miss. This is because typically homeowners only check to see if their heater is working properly when they’re experiencing issues already. That being said, make sure you visually check your heater for leaks and listen for dripping inside. Add it to the list of regular maintenance tasks so you'll be aware of a problem when it first starts.
5. Water Collecting Near the Tank
If you’ve noticed that water is collecting in the area near your water heater, this is a sign that it needs to be repaired or replaced. Sometimes, this might be caused by a valve that’s damaged. If that's the case, your valve can be repaired without needing to replace the tank.
However, water collecting near your water heater might also be a sign that the tank is severely damaged. In this case, you will need to replace the tank entirely so the damage doesn't get worse, causing serious problems such as flooding.
5. Rumbling and Gurgling Noises
If you hear rumbling and strange noises coming from your heater, this is a sign that it is struggling. Again, it's likely caused by accumulated sediment that the water has to gurgle through to reach the pipe.
Water heaters often suffer from corrosion. Sometimes, all you have to do to fix this problem is replace the part that’s been corroded with a new one. Other times, however, this is a sign that you need to replace your heater entirely.
Conventional Vs. Tankless
Like anything else, heaters don't last forever—in fact, their lifespan is only about 11 to 20 years, so if your tank is older than that, it's on its last legs and you should think about replacing it. When the time comes to replace your heater, there are a couple options. Consider whether a conventional or tankless heater will work best for your home.
The most common type has a large tank that constantly heats so it's ready whenever you turn on the tap, while a tankless version heats water on demand by pulling cold through the pipe and heating it before it exits the faucet.
A tankless heater can save you a lot of money on your water heating costs—potentially as much as 60%—because it isn't constantly heating. But, even a new conventional tank heater can save you money in comparison to an older one that doesn't run as efficiently.
Trust Mr. Rooter to Handle Your Plumbing Repair and Maintenance
Water heaters are a modern convenience that we simply can't do without, so it can be very frustrating when they don't function properly. Whether you need repairs or a replacement, we’re here to help. At Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Dallas, we’re experts when it comes to all your plumbing needs.
Give us a call today at 214-838-8232 or request a job estimate online, and we'll show you why we're your best choice for plumbing services in Dallas-Fort Worth!