From showers to dishes and laundry, your home depends on a working water heater. When your water heater stops working, it can be a huge disruption. In this blog, we’ll review the signs that your old water heater is in trouble—and what to do to correct the problem.
The signs an old water heater is struggling
Nothing lasts forever, and that’s almost doubly true for water heaters. After all, that combination of heat, water, and metal can only last for so long. Here are the signs it’s time to upgrade to a new water heater.
#1. Less hot water than there used to be
All standard water heaters have a sacrificial anode rod within them that “absorbs” the rust, protecting the outside tank walls from damage. However, eventually, this anode rod is spent, and the rust and calcium buildup comes for the tank body itself.
As this rust builds up day-after-day, year-after-year, eventually it begins to fill the space within the tank. Left unchecked, this can lead to a noticeable reduction in the amount of hot water your system can provide at once, since there’s physically less room to store hot water in the tank.
#2. The water is less hot than it used to be
If you’re finding that your home’s water is less “hot” and more “moderately lukewarm,” it might be a sign that your old water heater needs to be repaired or replaced.
Warm, not hot, water could be a sign of different problems. It could be an issue with the heating element itself. Or, that aforementioned reduction in tank space could be the culprit. Either way, there’s a point where a water heater just won’t be able to keep up.
#3. You’re seeing rust in the water supply
Ok, so that anode rod we mentioned earlier? After it’s gone, the tank itself will begin to rust. This rust will begin to leech into the hot water supply that’s going to your home, causing rust-colored water to appear, either consistently or once in a while.
But, here’s a problem. How do you know if the rusty water is from your old water heater or your (even older) water pipes? Obviously, the latter is a much bigger problem than the former.
Turn the tap to hot and see if you notice the rusty water. Then, turn off the hot tap entirely. If the rust coloration goes away, it’s likely the water heater that’s the problem.
#4. The tank is leaking
We saved this one for last, but it’s the one thing you should immediately call us about. If your hot water tank is leaking, it’s time for a new one, since it’s very likely that the hull has been compromised.
A leaking tank is never just a nuisance. Left untreated, even the smallest crack in a tank can lead to a tank burst, which can completely destroy your garage, flood your home, and—generally—make for a really, really terrible day.
If you suspect that your older water heater is leaking, has a hairline fracture, or other problems, contact Air Control immediately.