Water heaters are often the unsung hero of your Utah home, doing the hard work to give you warm baths in the cold winters. But if you’ve been noticing recent signs of trouble, now might be the time to get on track with your regular maintenance – otherwise, you may end up looking for emergency plumber services in Salt Lake City or nearby, sooner than you’d think. Here are a few common symptoms of water heater problems and what you can do.
When you observe water leaking around your heater, it’s important not to panic – but also never ignore this sort of problem. Before you get started, it’s advisable to observe basic safety measures, power down the unit and let it cool.
Look carefully around the tank and compression fittings for evidence of corrosion or rust that could be the cause of the leak. Loose screws or fittings can be replaced to solve the issue. If everything else seems to be tight and in place, then the water may be leaking from the tank itself, and this would require professional services to fix.
Occasionally you might hear gurgling, rumbling, or banging and other loud noises coming from your water heater. This is often a telltale sign of sedimentation and residue buildup. At times it can be caused by a failing electric heating element. Either way, you shouldn’t let the issue persist – your heater will become increasingly inefficient and prone to further damage down the line. Drain the tank and flush the sediment, then inspect the heating element (if applicable) for any deposits and try to clear them off. If this isn’t possible, it might be time to install a new element.
An odor or discoloration
When you observe a rusty or muddy color in your water or notice any strange smells, this could be an indication of rust or bacterial activity. However, such problems may also arise from the water source or piping; many parts of Utah are known for their water hardness, for instance.
Try to diagnose the problem further by testing hot and cold water. If the issue only manifests with hot water, then it’s more likely to be a heater problem. Drain the tank and wash with bleach to remove any rust and bacteria. You can also install a water softener or filter to help mitigate any issues with water hardness.
When your water temperature fluctuates unpredictably between too hot and not hot enough, it might seem like a small inconvenience at first but could spell more trouble down the line. You should first check your thermostat – not only should the setting be correct, it must remain at the desired value, not resetting on its own.
For electric heaters, check both heating elements and breakers if they are functioning properly. For gas heaters, check the insulating material for damage, and make sure there are no problems with the gas flow.
Insufficient hot water
If you don’t notice any leaking water around your heater or any of the other signs of trouble mentioned above, but still find that you’re unable to draw a sufficient supply of hot water, then it could be a sign of the heater failing due to age. Check the thermostat and breakers – for electrical heaters, in particular, faulty wiring can be an issue. The serial number will indicate the year and model of the heater; given most units have a life expectancy of 10 years on average, it may be time for a replacement.
Take care of your heater, and take action as soon as necessary, and you’ll avoid major breakdowns in your hot water supply.