Four Signs of Impending Water-Heater Trouble

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Few things can put a damper on your morning than a surprise cold shower. This is why it's important to make sure that your water heater is working well and not in danger of breaking down. Often, your heater will begin having small issues that warn you that there is trouble ahead, but you have to know what they are to recognize them. The following signs of impending water-heater failure can help you catch the issue before a full breakdown happens.

Sign #1: Discolored hot water

Rust and other mineral buildup in the hot water heater can lead to discolored water. Rust can also occur if there is actual corrosion happening in the tank. The problem is that other things can also lead to discolored water, such as rusted pipes or an influx of hard minerals in your water supply. You can be reasonably assured your hot water is to blame, though, if the discoloration is occurring at all of the taps and only when the hot water is running.

Sign #2: Sediment in the water

Sediment naturally builds up in hot-water heaters, usually from the heat causing the natural minerals in the water to separate and build up inside the tank. Sometimes this sediment builds up to the point that it starts coming out of your hot water taps. This is more likely to happen if you aren't having your tank flushed annually, since flushing will prevent these sediments from building up to this point. If this is allowed to continue, the sediment will eventually clog the tank and cause it to stop working.

Sign #3: Loss of heat

It's a good idea to periodically check the temperature of the water coming out of your taps with a food thermometer and then verify that the temperature is a close match to the setting on your water-heater thermostat. Water heaters may gradually lose heat before the heating element burns out completely. If your temperature reader is more than a few degrees off at every tap, then you may want to have the element replaced before you are caught in the cold.

Sign #4: Loud noises

Cracks, bangs, and pops from a water heater as it heats up are a sure sign of extreme mineral buildup. These pops usually happen after the hot water is used. This is because the water level in the heater tank drops. This causes mineral buildup on the sides of the tank to dry and begin to crack and fall off, and that leads to the sounds. There are typically no more sounds after the tank finishes filling. These chunks of mineral will eventually clog the hoses in the heater or coat the element so it can't heat properly if the tank is fully flushed.

For more help, call a water-heater contractor in your area.

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6 October 2016

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