Perhaps no home appliance is more contested than the water heater. Lack of hot water causes miserable showers, poorly-washed dishes, and a variety of small mishaps that make a house somewhat less like a home. Plumbers are busy, and may not be available to replace a broken water heater after it has completely failed. It’s best to catch the problem before it is too late, so here are several signs that a water heater may be about to break down.
1. Odd Noises
Heaters process a large quantity of water over time, transforming it in ways that separate out some of its sediment. In addition to clogging lines and changing water color, sediment remains trapped in the tank. As water travels through, this sediment rattles and rumbles like rocks in a stream. Unfortunately, it is a clear sign that the unit is on its last leg.
Sediment in the tank takes up space otherwise used by water. It also damages pipes and the tank interior by constantly moving around and eroding the metal walls. Finally, because sediment heats more slowly, the element must work harder to heat water evenly, resulting in more wear and tear on the element and tank.
2. Rusty Water
If your hot water looks rusty or contains particles, this is another bad sign. Instead of sediment clogging up the tank, it is possible that the tank interior itself is rusting or flaking away. This may also be due to bad pipes.
Because this could be the pipes themselves, a good way to avoid involving a plumber Toronto is draining your heater into a separate bucket. If your heater is mostly drained, and water is still coming out red, you’re likely getting oxidation from the tank and not the pipes. In this instance, the heater should be replaced as soon as possible.
Leaks are another sure sign that the heater is due for replacement. Intense heat warps metal over time. When this happens, holes may develop in the tank’s outer lining, or cracks may appear and widen between the tank and other fixtures.
Before scrapping the entire heater, it is important to determine if moisture or puddles originate from the tank itself, or from leaky fixtures and hoses. A damaged hose or connector can typically be replaced without a new tank, and might improve performance by providing a clean channel through which water can flow unobstructed. But if fixtures and hoses are dry despite water around the tank, then it is likely that the heater is failing catastrophically and should be replaced.
Wear and tear is inevitable, even with the best maintained appliances. Preventative maintenance helps extend a heater’s useful life, but proactive replacement is a perfectly reasonable strategy to make sure hot water is always available. Ten years is the average useful life of most heaters. While it is certainly possible to wait until other symptoms develop, heaters should be replaced if leaks or other issues might cause damage to the home.
Many home appliances and tasks depend on a functioning water heater. As such, it makes sense to proactively repair and replace it should it show signs of damage. Here is a great informative video to troubleshooting your water heater. Just remember to contact a plumber Toronto if you find any major issues.