When it comes to your water heater, a little preventative maintenance goes a long way. While your water heater could fail unexpectedly, there are usually some warning signs that you shouldn’t miss before it fails.
Don’t get surprised by cold water after a long workday. Learn to spot the signs of a failing water heater from our team at Integrity Home Solutions!
The Signs of a Failing Water Heater
Before your water heater fails, it will likely present some red flags indicating something is amiss.
#1. No Hot Water
If the water coming from your shower is lukewarm at best, or if it takes a long time to get hot water from the tap, it could be a sign that your water heater is on the verge of failure.
Most standard water heaters either hold 30 to 50 gallons of water.
As the water in the tank heats up, minerals in the water separate and settle at the bottom of the tank. Over time, minerals like calcium and magnesium can accumulate inside your water heater, creating a barrier between the burner and the water. This means that your water won’t get hot, leaving you with lukewarm showers and frustrating laundry days.
Eventually, after enough sediment builds up, the heating element might fail, and your water heater will cease to operate altogether.
Schedule water heater maintenance and annual flushing of your tank with our team at Integrity Home Solutions. Since Tampa is prone to hard water, you might want to consider investing in a water softener to help prolong your water heater’s life.
Learn More> 5 Benefits of a Water Softening System
#2. Rumbling or Popping Noises
Strange noises emanating from your water heater are an additional sign of water heater failure. If it sounds like there is a ghoul in your water heater making popping, creaking, or rumbling noises, it’s time to call in a plumber.
Hard water and subsequent mineral deposits are often to blame when it comes to water heater noises. Popping is caused by air pockets in the mineral buildup boiling alongside the water inside your tank.
If your water heater still makes noise once your water tank has been flushed, there might be a more serious problem. Water heaters that creak, rumble, or pop despite annual flushing may be on the verge of a crack or a leak. The best alternative is to replace the tank before it causes a costly water leak.
#3. Cloudy Water
If the water coming from your faucets is cloudy or you detect a metallic scent or taste in your water, you guessed it, your water heater might be failing.
Murky and metallic-smelling water is caused by mineral deposits as they travel out of your water heater.
A cloudy orange or reddish color in your water could indicate that there is rust inside your water heater tank or that your home’s pipes are rusty.
If you are bothered by cloudy water, you can filter it for a quick fix. While it might not look appealing, the EPA reports that mineral deposits or rust do not cause any immediate health concerns.
Keep in mind, once rust starts in your tank or pipes, the only solution is to replace them. Take a proactive approach to home maintenance and replace water heater tanks and pipes before corrosion causes a leak or failure.
#4. Leaking or Faulty Pressure Relief Valve
The pressure relief valve (TPR) in your water heater plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety and longevity of your water heater. It is designed to release pressure buildup inside the tank when either the temperature or pressure exceeds safe levels. Without this valve, a sudden increase in temperature or pressure could cause the tank to burst, resulting in extensive damage and potential injury. The buildup of salts, rust, and corrosion can cause the TPR to freeze or fail.
When it comes to the pressure relief valve (TPR) there are two things to pay attention to:
- Is the TPR valve leaking?
- Is hot water not flowing through the pipe when you test the TPR valve?
Both scenarios may involve more extensive repairs than just a TPR valve replacement.
While rare, a failed TPR valve can cause catastrophic and even deadly damage. If it malfunctions, water in the tank could exceed the boiling point, expand into steam, and cause an explosion—propelling your water tank like a rocket through multiple floors and even the roof of your home.
To test the TPR valve, raise and lower its test lever a few times so the brass stem that it is fastened to is lifted. Be warned: hot water should rush out the end of the drain pipe. If you don’t see any water flowing through the pipe, or it’s just a trickle, consult an Integrity Home Solutions plumber to replace the TPR valve and ensure that your water heater is functioning correctly.
#5. Leaking Water Tank
If you notice any water pooling beneath your tank, corrosion within the tank may have led to a crack. Of course, hot water leaking from your water heater is an obvious sign of trouble, so don’t delay. You’ll need to get your water heater replaced as soon as possible to prevent a flood in your home.
Remember, if water is leaking from the TPR valve, it could be caused by too much pressure in the tank or overheating.
If the leak is severe, turn the water off at the water shut-off valve. This is a temporary fix, but it will at least prevent a flood and gallons of wasted water. Regardless of the cause, it is imperative to call in a plumber from Integrity Home Solutions as soon as possible for repairs or a replacement.
Don’t Get Caught in the Cold
Don’t let your water heater fail! Proactive maintenance is the best way to prolong your water heater’s lifespan and to prevent catastrophic water damage. Not sure how to flush your water heater? Relax and let our team at Integrity Home Solutions do our job!
Need water heater help? Schedule water heater repair or service today; 813-473-6007!