June 17, 2024

3 Early Warning Signs Your Water Heater Needs Repair


Does your water heater require a tune-up or repair? Watch for these three signs that indicate it's time to call in a professional.

Does your home’s water heater need to be repaired?

There’s no feeling like stepping into a steamy hot shower on a cold winter morning—only to find that the water is lukewarm at best. 

3 Things That Indicate Your Water Heater Requires Repairing

Source: Pexels

Water heaters play an integral role in keeping everyone clean and comfortable while preventing your pipes from freezing as the winter hits. Fortunately, the signs of a failing water heater are anything but subtle. Here are three telling signs that your water heater needs a repair call.

1 – Temperature Inconsistencies May Indicate a Water Heater in Need of Repair

One of the most obvious signs that your water heater needs a repair is notable temperature inconsistencies. This issue can present itself in several ways. 

One form of temperature inconsistency is if your water fluctuates in temperature while in the shower. This issue is a common sign that your heating element is going. If your water tank is older, it might be overdue for a replacement with a new energy-efficient model.

Another type of temperature inconsistency is when the water never gets hot enough. You might pour a bath with the hot water tap cranked on only to get a puddle of lukewarm water. This issue could be a sign that the temperature control on the tank isn’t set correctly or needs an adjustment. It could also indicate a corroded water heater dip tube.

If you run out of hot water quicker than expected, consider the last time you flushed the system. If your tank builds up too much debris and sediment (expected over time), it could take up water storage space. Leaving this issue unaddressed could lead to permanent damage to your water heater. 

2 – Strange Smells or Tastes

Water should be tasteless and odorless. If you have hard water, it’s normal to notice a slight discoloration or odor. A water softener and filtration system can minimize these issues. If those components work or you don’t have hard water, strange smells and tastes are likely related to the hot water tank.

Something is diffusing into the water if your water smells sulfurous or has a metallic taste. The sulfur smell indicates bacteria growth or the degradation of the anode rod, which should prevent tank corrosion. You should replace the anode rod every few years throughout the lifespan of your water heater. 

The metallic taste or smell indicated degradation of the pipes to and from your water heater. If you have an older home, it’s important to deal with this issue immediately.

Source: Pexels

3 – Water Discoloration or Debris

If your water is discolored or has floaty bits, it’s likely an anode rod issue. This problem often goes hand-in-hand with a smell or funny taste, but not always. 

Rust-colored water or debris indicates that the tank’s internal waterproof coating to prevent corrosion is starting to go bad. This issue indicates that you’re due for a water tank replacement. Replacing the anode rod every few years will help prevent this issue and extend the tank’s lifespan.

The Takeaway: Call a Professional for a Water Heater Repair (It’s Not a DIY)

The average water tank lifespan is around ten years, depending on water quality and how well you maintain it. If you’re getting to the ten-year mark, talk to your plumber about upgrading to a new, energy-efficient model. Many homeowners are replacing outdated tanks with an on-demand or tankless water heater for lower electricity costs, better temperature consistency, and less space.

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