A faulty water heater can disrupt your life in a hurry. Not having hot water when you need it can be a huge shock, particularly if you’ve come to expect your morning shower to be a warm and comfortable experience. However, the idea that water heaters quit on you without warning simply isn’t true. Any water heater will show signs of a problem, it’s just that the average person doesn’t know what they are and what to look for. This blog aims to change that—here are a few of the most common signs or symptoms of a dying water heater so you can take action quickly and either have your heater repaired or replaced before disaster strikes.
Does it seem like you have to turn the hot water up significantly hotter than you used to? While this isn’t uncommon during winter months, especially for the first few minutes of running a shower or tub, sustained lower temperatures are a sign that your water heater isn’t adequately heating water anymore. Furthermore, it is clearly losing a good chunk of energy through heat loss, and this is a sign of eroded insulation, dying heating elements, and plenty of other problems. Likewise, if it seems like your water heater runs out of hot water faster than it used to, then the same thing can be said: your water heater is probably on the brink and on its way out.
Have you ever experienced the issue known as “cold water sandwich?” That’s when you suddenly receive an unexpected jolt of cold water while enjoying a hot shower. While this can be caused by someone flushing the toilet or turning on a sink elsewhere in your home, this could be an indicator of a dying water heater. If your heater can’t keep up with your heating and refilling demands like it once did, then it’s time to replace it with a new, more efficient unit.
Strange Reddish-Brown Colors
Does your tap water appear clear on cold-only temperatures and then suddenly gain a reddish-brown tint of color when it heats up? This is a sign that the inside of your water heater’s tank is corroding, usually through years of exposure to water that’s particularly corrosive. While we are privileged to enjoy a safe and stable supply of clean, potable water, the water that enters our home isn’t as clean as we think. That means it’s not uncommon for pH levels to be slightly off, and for overly-acidic or alkaline water to take their toll on your water heater after several years. We recommend having any water heater that shows this sign be replaced immediately—the added metallic content in your water isn’t the healthiest to drink regularly.
This is yet another way a water treatment system could be invaluable to your home: by improving water quality, you’ll also decrease wear and tear on your water-reliant appliances. That includes your washing machine, your dishwasher, and, of course, your water heater.
Failure to Ignite
Does your water heater’s pilot light constantly need to be re-lit? Does it refuse to light on its own anymore? This is a somewhat rare problem, but it typically only affects heaters that have reached an advanced age. When the pilot light in a water heater gets too old, it will frequently die. Most water heaters have an automatically re-igniting pilot light, but the automatic ignition system can wear out as well. When that happens, you’ll have to manually relight the pilot light on your own. However, it may be a better decision to simply replace your water heater entirely.
Water in the Drip Pan or Around the Base
Finally, the most tell-tale sign of a dying water heater is also the most dangerous: water in the drip pan or around the base of the heater unit. As your water heater’s tank corrodes and wears out, it will develop small leaks. These leaks start as pinhole gaps, showing up only as small and slow drips. However, as the water continues to expand the leak, the dripping will get faster and more frequent. Eventually, you won’t be able to ignore the water around the base of your tank. Or, at the very least, you shouldn’t. If you see signs of a leak in your water heater, call us right away to have the entire system replaced outright.Schedule your water heater service by calling the team at Moe Plumbing at (818) 396-8002 today!