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4 Signs Your Water Heater is About to Fail

A failing or broken water heater can be inconvenient, especially if it occurs in the middle of a cold winter. Fortunately, water heaters can last a long time with a little preventative maintenance.

Learn how to spot the signs your water heater is about to fail and find out what you can do to make sure you never go without hot water.

No Hot Water

If your shower or tap begins to run lukewarm, or it takes longer than normal for the water to heat up, it could mean that you’re facing water heater problems or failure.

Most standard water heaters hold between 30 and 50 gallons of water. As the water is heated from the gas or electric source, minerals settle at the bottom of the tank. As these deposits build up, it creates a barrier between the heating element and the water inside the tank, so less heat reaches the water. Without hot water in the tank, you end up with lukewarm or cool water running from your faucets.

In addition, the buildup of these deposits compounds over time, making it more and more difficult for your heating element to work probably. If unaddressed, this will cause your water heater to break or leak, which requires a full replacement.

Fortunately, you can prevent this problem by having your water tank flushed annually. If your home has hard water, it may be worthwhile to invest in a water softener to keep mineral deposits at bay and help your water heater run efficiently.

Unusual Noises

A healthy water heater emits a soft buzzing sound. If your water heater starts creaking, popping, rumbling or making other loud and unusual sounds, it’s best to consult a professional to find and repair the cause.

Unusual noises may be caused by anything from mineral buildup to a faulty component, but a popping sound is usually caused by the mineral deposits on the surface, which lead to pockets of air that heat with the water in your tank. Regardless of the cause, it’s important to have the problem corrected before it forces a breakdown and full replacement of your heater.

Cloudy Water

If your water looks cloudy or has a metallic scent and taste, it could indicate a problem with your water heater. Murky water and odd odors are both signs of an impending water heater breakdown. Mineral deposits travel out of the water heater, causing a cloudy appearance and a metallic taste or odor in the water that flows from the tap. These minerals can also cause damage to your faucets, often clogging components that allow water to flow freely.

Though murky water doesn’t look appealing, it doesn’t pose a risk to your health. It’s still best to address the problem and ensure that your water heater and pipes aren’t at risk for damage.

Faulty Pressure Release Valve

The pressure relief valve on the side of your water heater is a vital safety component that’s designed to open and release pressure buildup within the tank, preventing an explosion. If this valve is leaking or hot water doesn’t flow through when you test the valve, it could mean that there’s a problem involving the valve itself or the water heater.

In many cases, a buildup of salt or rust is the cause of a valve malfunction, but it can also be the result of another problem. Though it’s rare to have a failed safety valve cause a serious issue, a malfunction could lead to the water in the tank reaching dangerous temperatures, turning into steam and propelling the tank through multiple floors, or even the roof.

Call Village Plumbing

If you suspect a broken water heater or water heater problems, it’s best to consult a professional to prevent a small problem from becoming a major repair. At Village Plumbing, we have extensive experience in all types of plumbing problems. Contact us today to see what we can do for you!


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