Tank-type water heaters have an average useful lifespan of seven to ten years and can start showing signs of aging long before that. The water heater is probably the most used plumbing related appliance in any home, being on duty 24-hours-a-day. So, what are the signs your hot water heater is going out?
Less Hot Water / Water isn’t Hot Enough
As tank-type water heaters age without regular maintenance, the hard water we have here in Texas introduces a lot of mineral sediment. As this sediment starts to build up in the tank, there is less room for water, which can cut the amount of available hot water in half.
Since life isn’t fair, the heating element is located at the bottom of the tank, where most of the mineral sediment builds up, effectively blocking the heat from the water. Gas heaters and electric heating elements must work harder to achieve the temperature set on the thermostat, meaning your water heater is continuously running and isn’t able to keep up. In a home with multiple bathrooms, or several family members who need showers in the morning, it can get frustrating.
Water Puddles Around the Tank
Water heater tanks are made of steel coated on the inside with a thin glass lining to slow down the corrosion process. The keywords here are “slow down,” as this glass-like lining is porous and will allow some seepage from the tank to the steel shell. Visible rust on the outside of your water heater tank, particularly along the seam where the tank was welded together, signifies your water heater is in trouble.
The next symptom to expect from a rusty water heater tank is leakage. It’s often difficult to pinpoint where a leak is on a water heater, as many leaks occur on the bottom of unit. If there is water coming from beneath your water heater, it could be a sign that the tank has cracked. A cracked tank will need to be replaced.
Clunking and Banging Noises
Hearing things go “bump” in the night? It could be a ghost, but more likely, it’s your water heater sending an important message. When enough mineral sediment has settled in the tank, it forms a wet, soupy layer that coagulates at the bottom of the tank. Crunching, banging, thumping, and rattling are used to describe the sound of sediment drifting around in a water heater tank.
Water heater maintenance will improve your unit’s lifespan and its efficiency by flushing out that sediment build-up. Additionally, all heating elements, ignition sources, and safety features are checked out and adjusted as needed.
Nick’s Plumbing and Air Conditioning has been Houston’s water heater repair and installation experts for over forty years. So there really is no need to worry about searching for the answer to “what are the signs your hot water heater is going out?” when you can get our professional opinion for free. Call us today to schedule your free estimate or a free second opinion on any water heater service, maintenance, or repair.