Your home's water heater is one of the central components of your plumbing system. Without a properly functioning water heater, not only will your water using appliances like dishwashers and washing machines no longer function properly, but you will no longer be able to access warm water for showering and cleaning, which can disrupt your everyday life. Fortunately, there are some early warning signs that your water heater is on its last legs that you should watch out for so that you can replace your unit before it completely fails.
The most obvious sign that your water heater is in need of replacement is if the hot water that comes out of your faucets and water fixtures is discolored. This can point to either rust developing on the interior of your water heater's tank, which can make a leak around the unit itself much more likely, or sediment buildup within the tank, which can reduce the efficiency and effectiveness of your water heater, driving up your energy bills.
Reduced Water Capacity
In addition to discoloration of your hot water, another clear indication that your water heater needs to be replaced is if there is much less hot water available. If you find yourself running out of hot water after only a few minutes in your shower, two things could be wrong: either sediment has built up within the tank, as already mentioned, which reduces the overall amount of hot water that your heater can hold on to, or the heating element itself has become damaged and is no longer able to adequately warm up large quantities of water. In either case, you will likely have to replace your water heater.
Furthermore, any loud sounds that your water heater makes when you turn on the hot water anywhere in your home can point to damage to the heating element or the buildup of sediment in the tank. These noises are in excess to the normal running of water: they include loud banging and popping sounds, and are caused by sediment that is touching the water heater rapidly heating up and expanding.
You should periodically check the area around your water heater for signs of water damage, which can point to a leak or structural damage to your unit. Any signs of water damage, such as discoloration, warping, moss and mildew growth, or even an earthy smell require you to contact a professional plumbing service such as Peoples Plumbing LLC to give your unit an inspection and determine the source of the leak.