How Do I Know If My Water Heater Needs to Be Repaired?

While many of us can expect our home’s water heater to function properly most of the time, if you’ve been experiencing any of the following problems in your home, it’s likely that you need water heater repair or possibly even replacement.  The key to getting a long life out of your water heater and saving yourself a great deal of money,n is knowing exactly what kind of routine maintenance your water heater will need as the years go by.

The important thing Water Heater Needs to Be Repaired to remember as you read through the following is that with a few exceptions, none of the problems discussed here are especially serious, and most can be resolved by a qualified professional in no time at all.  Having your water heater inspected and serviced at least once a year will prevent you from ever having to deal with most of these issues, to begin with.

Running out of hot water too quickly or too often

This is the most common problem we hear about from homeowners who need water heater repair.  If your water heater seems to be running out of hot water too quickly or too often, the problem is most likely a damaged heating element, sediment build-up in the tank, or a broken dip tube.

Your water heater has two heating elements, one on top of the tank to regulate the temperature of the water that’s already been heated, and another one near the bottom that heats the water as it is fed into the tank.  Your dip tube is a plastic tube that feeds unheated water into the bottom of the tank. If either one of these parts is damaged, the end result is a noticeable drop in the amount of hot water your water heater is able to produce.

Problems with the dip tube or one of the heating elements are the result of these parts getting to the end of their lifespan.  A dip tube will last 10-15 years, and a water heater element will last 6-10 years.

Sediment build-up in the bottom of the tank is potentially more serious.  To prevent sediment build-up in your water heater we recommend draining your water heater once a year as part of a full inspection.  For homes with hard water, we recommend draining your water heater once every six months.

The tank is leaking water

While water heaters can start leaking for any number of reasons, a leak coming from your water heater tank is a sign of other problems.  Leaks are a simple water heater repair, the problem is that many homeowners don’t notice then until it’s far too late.  The easiest way to stop a leak from turning into a much bigger problem is to visually inspect your water heater for leaks or other damage at least once a month.

The water looks, smells, or tastes bad

If your water is noticeably discolored, emitting foul odors, or it doesn’t taste right, this means you’ve got corrosion somewhere in the lines feeding your water tank, or corrosion somewhere in your home’s internal plumbing.  If the poor taste or smell is noticeable in both the cold and hot water, it means the corrosion is happening in your home’s internal plumbing.  If the foul taste or odor is confined only to your hot water, the corrosion is taking place somewhere in your water heater.

No water pressure

Low water pressure is caused by mineral build-up, but it can also be caused by damaged distribution lines or other pre-existing issues with your home’s plumbing or design.  The same logic applies here as with foul-smelling water—if the issue affects both your hot and cold water, it’s a plumbing issue, and if it affects just your hot water, it’s an issue with the water heater. 

Strange or unusual noises

Your water heater is a large appliance, and as the years pass and it begins to age, a little noise is to be expected.  However, if you start hearing noticeably loud noises such as clanging or rumbling, this is a warning sign of something much more serious.  Clanging or rumbling means that a sediment layer like the one discussed above has built up in the bottom of your tank and has had enough time to harden,  this is a serious problem that if left untreated could result in a homeowner needing to replace their water heater entirely.

Questions about water heater repair?

If the water heater in your home is acting up and is in need of repair or if you are in the market for a replacement, please call Stith Plumbing & HVAC today. We are your most trusted resource for water heater repair and replacement.