Virtually all water heaters eventually require maintenance or repairs, regardless of whether the model is gas or electric. However, untrained individuals should not attempt to make such repairs without assistance. Instead, homeowners should familiarize themselves with the signs of a failing water heater and contact a professional for further advice if they suspect the water heater is malfunctioning. Below are some of the most common signs that a water heater is failing:
There is a broad range of reasons for a malfunctioning water heater, but one of the most common signs that repairs are needed is the presence of a foul odor. Sediment build-up in the unit is typically the cause of such an odor, the latter of which may come and go or be a constant smell in the home.
If the house is connected to a public water source, the water likely contains chlorine from a nearby treatment plant. Nevertheless, the purifying effects of the chlorine may be hindered by sediment build-up. Therefore, if one detects such an odor, he or she should immediately contact a professional who can check for leaks or flush the heater’s tank to eliminate sediment.
Long Heat-Up Time
If the water takes a lengthy amount of time to heat up or one notices that the water is no longer getting as hot as it did previously, it may be a sign that the heater is failing. This sign sometimes comes on gradually, while other times it may suddenly occur with no warning. Either way, a professional should evaluate the heater before it fails completely.
Rusty or Discolored Water
Homeowners should examine the water coming out of the hot faucet. If it has a rusty appearance, this is a sign that the water heater will likely fail in the near future. Increased sediment in the water or muddy water are signs that the unit is failing as well. Water with a metallic taste also indicates that the heater is nearing the end of its life span.
Odd Sounds Coming From the Heater
It is always wise for homeowners to pay close attention to any abnormal noises coming from the water heater. Although certain sounds naturally occur as water heats up, loud pops or cracks indicate an interaction between mineral deposits and the heating elements on which these deposits coagulate.
Property owners should take immediate action if they discover puddles forming around or under the hot water tank. Water tanks that leak can eventually cause flooding or other serious problems in the dwelling. Unfortunately, replacement is the only option for a leaking water heater, as such units are more expensive to repair than they are to replace.
Avoid Do-it-Yourself Projects
Water heater repairs are quite challenging for untrained hands. There are various mistakes a person can make when attempting to tackle a project of this type without assistance. This can ultimately lead to costly repairs and additional problems in the future. For this reason, anyone who suspects he or she has a failing water heater should speak to a professional contractor as soon as possible.