Even the most well-built, dependable water heaters experience issues. Some issues such as water leaks or loud noises are evident and easy to identify. Other problems are hidden or slowly develop over time. All problems compromise your water heater’s performance and hinder reliable hot water flow. Below, we look at 7 common water heater problems you should know.
1. You Have a Noisy Water Heater
Manufacturers design water heaters to be super quiet. However, a unit can make noises, indicating that you need a new heater.
Electric water heaters mostly hear sizzling, hissing, and crackling sounds. They point to sediment build-up in the base of the tank, which can be addressed by annually flushing and draining the water heater. These sounds occur when sediment buries the lower heating element.
In most cases, addressing a noisy water heater is a simple fix. However, your water heater may not be repairable if the noise persists or you hear banging or rumbling noises. You may want to contact a plumber for water heater installation services and consider getting a new water heater.
2. There Isn’t Enough Hot Water
There are several reasons why you are not getting enough hot water. You may have a larger family and a unit that doesn’t accommodate your needs. You may also have appliances that consume a lot of hot water, and your water heater may need repairs.
Regardless, you need more hot water from your water heater. If so, it may be time for a water heater upgrade.
- New standard water heaters have tank reservoirs that can hold up to 120 gallons of non-water, ready to disperse when you need it. Larger heaters should provide enough hot water for a family of four with multiple appliances in the house.
- Tankless water heaters contain a heating element that heats water as it flows through the unit. You never run out of water, regardless of how much you use. It’s ideal for a home with several occupants and appliances. Contact a local plumber in Alexandria, Virginia, when you have tankless water heater problems to learn more about the benefits of tankless water heaters.
3. The Water Is Rusty and Tastes Funny
Rust-colored hot water occurs due to bacteria growth, pipe corrosion, tank water heater corrosion, or mineral deposits in the water supply.
If the cause is aging plumbing, replacing those pipes or appliances could fix the issue. If there is corrosion in or outside the tank’s surface, it almost always means the tank or whole water heater needs a replacement. There’s no easy way to fix this corrosion, which will spread, leading to leaking.
Remember that a little rust in water is not a health concern. However, as your water heater deteriorates, it will produce more rust, leading to health problems over time. Don’t wait to replace your water heater.
4. Chronic Leaks Keep Reoccurring
There are plenty of opportunities for leaks from a water heater due to the pipes and connections going in and out of the unit.
- Valve and gasket leaks
- Busted water tank
- Dip tube leak
- Inlet and outlet pipes
Water leaks can cause massive structural damage long before you realize there is a leak. These leaks can occur sporadically or simultaneously at any given time. Some leaks are fixable. Others are not. If your water heater is suffering from chronic leaks, it may be time to schedule a water heater replacement.
Remember that not all leaks are obvious. Some hide beneath the unit. Look for signs of a leaky water heater, such as high water bills, mold, rusty pipes, discoloration on the floor or walls, and a musty smell.
5. Your Utility Bills Have Skyrocketed
An inefficient water heater is not just a water bill concern. It’s also an electric bill concern.
Often, the first warning sign that a water heater is using too much energy comes from an electricity bill much higher than normal. For example, if your monthly electric bill is normally $100, it has shot up to $250 over the last few months, the problem may be a water heater that uses too much electricity.
You may want to schedule a water heater inspection or energy audit to determine whether your unit is too old, damaged, or inadequate for your water consumption needs. If so, a newer, high-efficiency water heater may solve the issue and reduce your energy and water bills.
6. Your Water Heater Is Old
Considering it is the most used appliance in the house, your water heater is resilient, with an expected lifespan of eight to 12 years. A tankless unit can last up to 20 years with water heater maintenance and care.
Once your water heater reaches its expected life, it will show signs of wear. Common problems with an old water heater include
- Loose connections
- Worn or broken parts
- Cracked tank
- Chronic water leaks
- Inconsistent performance
- Inefficient performance (higher water bills)
If you notice any of these problems and repairs do not work, it may be time to replace your water heater.
7. Water Temperature Keeps Fluctuating
Water temperature issues are among the most common problems you’ll encounter with water heaters.
Cold water is usually caused by either a lack of power, a faulty thermostat or a faulty heating element. Start by eliminating power as a suspect by resetting tripped circuit breakers and replacing blown fuses. Next, check the power switches to make sure they are turned on and power indicators are lit.
If your water isn’t getting hot enough, the cause could be an undersized water heater, crossed hot and cold connections, or a faulty heating element or thermostat. You can rule out a crossed connection by turning off the water supply and turning on a hot water faucet; if the water still flows, you could have a crossed connection.
When water runs too hot, it usually means the thermostat is set too high. See your water heater’s owner’s manual for adjusting the thermostat temperature.
Schedule Water Heater Repair in Sterling, Virginia
Don’t let a bad water heater keep you from getting hot water. Contact Cardinal Plumbing, Heating & Repair for complete water heater repair in Sterling, Virginia. We can fully assess your home to find and fix any problems. To schedule water heater services in Sterling, Virginia, fill out our contact form or call us.