Sometimes hot water heater problems take you by surprise, which can be inconvenient. Other times, you have an idea your heater might be headed for trouble. It's good to bring in a plumber to diagnose problems such as odd noises or rust in the water so you can get repairs promptly or have time to decide if you want to replace rather than repair the heater. Here are some times you may want a professional to check your heater:
When The Water Has Debris Or Rust
Rust is a bad thing for a water heater. If the tank is rusting, it will probably need to be replaced before the tank starts leaking. However, you want to be sure the debris you see is rust. Mineral scale builds up in a tank heater too, and this scale can break off and make the water cloudy. A water heater services technician can check your tank for rust and determine if rust is coming from the tank itself. If the tank is still in good shape, then the tank may be flushed out to get rid of debris. Flushing the tank might make your water clear again and save you from buying a new tank prematurely.
When The Tank Makes Weird Noises
Unusual noises shouldn't be ignored since they can be indications of a problem that needs quick repairs. A common reason for a noisy water tank is sediment buildup. If this is the cause, a plumber might fix the situation by flushing out the tank and cleaning it to remove scale. Servicing a noisy tank is important because sediment buildup can eventually lead to cracking and leaking of the tank. When that happens, the tank has to be replaced.
When You Never Have Enough Hot Water
If your water heater isn't working at all, the problem might be a broken heating element. If the rest of the tank is in good shape, a plumber might be able to change the heating element and get water hot again. However, if your family size has grown or your lifestyle habits have changed and your old tank can't keep up with your hot water demands, it's time to talk to a plumber about getting a new, bigger tank or switching to a tankless heater so you don't have to worry about showering in cold water.
Your water heater will last for many years when you maintain it properly, but it eventually will give out due to age. If you know your heater is old and past its expected service life, then start budgeting for a replacement water heater so you can get a new one before your old one stops working.