7 Signs Your Water Heater Is Failing

Water Heating Failing Signs


Anyone who has taken an unwanted cold shower appreciates the importance of a reliable water heater. Fortunately, a water heater seldom makes a secret of the fact that it’s about to give up the ghost. If you notice any of these seven signs that your home’s water heater is failing, contact a plumber right away. Whether they provide much-needed repairs or determine that a full replacement would prove the more cost-effective option, you’ll avoid having to slog through a single terrible morning without a hot shower!

1. Tank Is Leaking

A leaking tank doesn’t necessarily mean a water heater is on its last legs. A loose connection, gasket or drain valve could be the culprit. Repair in these cases is as easy as turning a wrench. But if erosion and sediment buildup have gradually corroded the tank, then outright replacement is the only viable course of action.

2. Water Heater Is Old

Despite the most talented plumber’s best efforts, any water heater is destined to fail eventually. The appliance becomes more temperamental as it approaches the end of its lifespan, which is about eight to 12 years for a conventional storage tank model. Consult your water heater’s label for its installation date. If Barack Obama was still in office when it was installed, its time will soon draw to an end.

3. Hot Water Runs Out Quickly

Silt, sand, rust, clay and other types of sediment commonly accumulate within hot water heater tanks. Just like the Crow and the Pitcher, a water receptacle stores less water as it collects more debris. If your water heater produces noticeably less hot water than it did when it was newer, then the sediment that has accumulated inside it has probably also corroded and clogged its valves. Replacement is necessary once that has happened.

4. Water Pressure Is Low

Hard water will gradually clog any plumbing system or appliance. A water heater is no exception. If scaling has effectively narrowed your plumbing, then the restricted pipes will carry less water to your faucets. And if your plumbing has accumulated enough calcium and magnesium to noticeably slow the flow of water, then those minerals have likely gathered within your soon-to-fail water heater as well.

5. Water Temperature Is Inconsistent

A water heater typically fails to produce consistently hot water for one of two reasons. The first is a defective thermostat, which a professional plumber can repair easily enough. The second is a broken heating element. A newer water heater’s heating element is often repairable, but an older model with a broken heating element belongs at a recycling plant.

6. Hot Water Is Discolored

A water heater’s tank is typically lined with glass, porcelain or silicon. The lining prevents the steel tank’s interior from rusting, but it cannot last indefinitely. Once the lining has worn away, the interior of the tank begins to corrode. Rust particles in your water aren’t normally hazardous to your health, but they will stain and damage your appliances. And if you allow your water heater’s tank to continue to corrode, it will eventually fail altogether.

7. Water Heater Makes Strange Noises

A water heater can make several different noises depending on how it is malfunctioning. Humming indicates that the water heater’s connections have loosened. Knocking indicates that water is activating the shutoff valves too quickly. Screeching is typically caused by check valves that cannot open fully, and tapping could evince an overaccumulation of sediment. If a newer water heater begins making odd noises, a plumber can address the underlying issue. When an older water heater starts making them, it is probably performing its swan song.

If your water heater is showing any signs that it is failing, contact PrairieSons today! Whether repair or replacement is your better option, you’re in good hands once you’ve chosen the greater Sioux Falls, SD area’s complete solution to all plumbing problems.