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Signs of a Water Heater Problem

Jan 3, 2014

There are few things worse than jumping into the shower on a cold winter morning and getting drenched with freezing cold water! Water heater problems are more common than you might think, and if you’re not sure whether you’re experiencing one or not, here are some signs.

  1. Temperature Fluctuation
    If your water isn’t hot or cold enough, then you’ve got a problem on your hands. Check the thermostat on your unit; it might need adjusting. The ideal hot water temperature is between 120 and 140 degrees.
  2. No Hot Water
    If you’re not getting any hot water at all, you could have a broken heating element or, if your unit is powered by natural gas, a broken gas thermocouple. These will need to be replaced to get your hot water flowing again.
  3. Noise Problems
    Banging, creaking, knocking or whining could all be signs of a build-up of sediment in your tank. Flushing the tank will correct the problem. However, another cause of noise could be the heating element burning out, in which case it’s time to replace it.
  4. Leakage
    If you notice water leaking from your hot water heater, or standing water around the unit, you need to call a professional straight away. Otherwise, it could result in flooding or significant water damage to your home.
  5. Strange Smelling or Tasting Water
    If your water has a metallic taste to it, or consistently smells funny, this could be a sign that your water heater is close to breaking down.

Keep in mind that most residential water heaters will last from 10 to 15 years at most, and after that you’ll probably have to replace it. Talk to a certified RESNET Energy Smart contractor who can advise you about energy efficient water heaters that save both money and energy.