Signs that your Water Heater Might be Failing

By Thornton Plumbing and Heating

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Blog Highlights:

  • Rusty water means the water heater is failing
  • Sediment in the water means the water heater is failing
  • Leaking water is a sign of water heater failure

Generally, most hot water heaters will last between 10 and 15 years before they need to be replaced. When the internal parts of the water heater become corroded or encased in a buildup of minerals the efficiency of the water heater will decline. There are a few signs to look for to see if you need a new hot water heater before it gives out on you completely.

Check the power to the hot water heater. If you have no hot water it might mean that your hot water heater has failed, but it can also be the sign of something else. It could just mean that your pilot light is out or that your circuit breaker has been tripped.

Look carefully at the water that is coming out of your hot water heater. If the water looks rusty that is a sign that your hot water heater is about to go.

Look for signs of muddy water or increased sentiment in your water tank. To do this you can attach a hose to the drainage bib on your hot water heater. Turn the hot water heater off and drain the contents of the unit. Examine the contents. If the water is muddy or there is a lot of sediment it can signal a potential failure in your unit.

Smell or taste the water that comes out of your hot water heater. If the water has a metallic taste to it, this signifies that the hot water heater may be breaking down.

Pay close attention to the noises your water heater is making. There will be the normal sound of water heating, but loud cracks and pops indicate a problem with the heating elements. It can be a sign that mineral deposits have built up on the heating elements inside the heater unit.

If you see water leaking around your hot water heater where none has leaked before taking immediate action. Disconnect the electricity or turn off the gas to the hot water heater unit. Allow the water time to cool before you attempt to remove it from the unit. Leaking indicates a failure in the hot water heater.

In order to extend the life of your hot water heater, you should flush it once each year. Turn the unit off. Attach a water hose to the hose bib at the bottom of the water heater. Let the cold water fill the water heater so you can flush out any sediment. Also, check the pressure relief valve annually to make sure it is working.

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