All, or at least most, of us are used to having hot water on demand at all times, while we’re at home. But there will come a time when your water heater will turn on you and that pleasantly hot shower can suddenly turn cold freezing cold because you missed the warning signs. Be it gas or electric, there are ways for you, to get those full 8 to 12 years of use out of your water heater as well. And it’s by watching out for the following early warning signs:
Change in Water Color
Since the water in your heater is kept in a steel tank, rust can easily become a big problem. So if you switch on the tab and notice an orange tint, you should get up and start looking for leaks. Even if you see no damage to the heater itself, be sure to check your pipes for signs of corrosion. Do not, I repeat, do not ignore rusty water! It’s always the sign of a bigger problem.
Only Cold Water
Usually, when you switch your tab on to hot, you expect to get hot water, but when that is suddenly no longer the case, you’ve got a problem. First: check your pilot light – is it still on? If so, check your circuit breaker – is it tripped? If you’re certain that both of those are intact, you’ve most likely got yourself a broken heater.
Water Can No Longer Reach 120 Degrees
As previously mentioned, you should be able to expect hot water when you switch on your tab. And don’t just be satisfied with anything above freezing. You didn’t buy your heater to get lukewarm water. So get up and check your thermostat temperature. It should be between 120 and 140 degrees. If it’s any lower, you should call in an appliance repair professional in Stoney Creek to get it checked.
If your water heater suddenly starts to sound like a hammer getting thrown around in a washing machine, you’ve got a problem. Slight noises as it gets older are fine, but anything like the above described sound? Not good. There could be a build-up of sediment in your tank which in turn would speed up the forming of leaks and slow down the water-heating process. So you should probably get up and call someone to inspect that noise.
Cracks, Fissures and Leaks
If your water heater has already made it to the end of its 8 to 12 year life-expectancy, the main cause of problems will be leaks. As the tank heats up and cools down with your every shower and wash load, the metal will eventually expand to breaking point. What will start out as hairline fissures and small cracks can turn into expensive leaks rather quickly. In this case, expensive means a repairing bill of up to $1,200 which would surely be money you’d rather spend elsewhere.
But if all else fails and you do find yourself out shopping for that new water heater, do take a moment to look at your options. You could upgrade to a tankless heater, check your warranty coverage, or go online and learn about ways to prevent the early death of your unit.