Most of us take our hot water heaters for granted until they stop working properly. Suddenly, you can’t take a hot shower or wash the dishes with warm water. Water may be leaking around the tank.
These are all signs that something is wrong with your tank.
If you’re seeing any of these five symptoms, it may be time to repair or replace your water heater.
1. Your Water is Lukewarm
One of the first signs that a hot water heater needs attention is lukewarm water. When the heater isn’t working properly, water won’t be as hot as it should be.
If your hot showers aren’t as hot as they used to be or your kitchen sink isn’t dispensing hot water, it may be time to call in a plumber. According to Marv’s Plumbing and Heating, sometimes minor problems can lead to major issues.
It may just be that the temperature isn’t set high enough, or there could be something wrong with the heater.
2. Your Water Heater is Past its Expiration Date
Just like anything else in your home, hot water heaters will eventually need to be replaced. Most water heaters last 8-10 years.
It’s generally recommended that homeowners replace their water heaters at the 10-year mark, but some heaters will die before this point.
If you’re not sure about the age of your water heater, check the serial number. This number lets you know when the hot water heater was manufactured, but you’ll need to do some research to learn how to decipher your water heater’s code.
3. The Inlet/Valve is Rusty
If you see rust anywhere on your hot water heater, it’s a good indication that it needs to be repaired or replaced.
Rusty hot water or a rusty valve/inlet are indications that the steel is beginning to corrode. Eventually, that corrosion will spread and eat through other areas of the tank.
In some cases, rusty hot water may be an indication that your pipes are rusting. To determine whether it’s your water heater or the pipes, fill several buckets with hot water. If the water is still rusty by the third bucket load, then the hot water heater is the problem and not the pipes.
4. There’s Water Around the Heater
When water heaters reach the end of their lives, they normally start leaking. If you’re seeing water around the heater, it’s time to replace it. Leaking can be a serious issue, so you need to address this quickly.
If you continue to allow the water heater to leak, it can cause property damage or contribute to mold growth.
Leaks are generally caused by expansion in the tank. These expansions occur slowly over time as the inner tank is constantly exposed to heating cycles.
In some cases, leaks are caused by other issues. There may be something wrong with the fittings, which can be repaired by a plumber.
5. The Heater is Making Strange Noises
If your hot water heater is making strange noises, it’s time to call in a plumber. As heaters age, they start making rumbling noises. Those noises get louder and louder as the tank heats up.
There are several things that can cause the noise, but a plumber will know how to pinpoint and resolve the problem.