A water heater is an appliance that you and your family use everyday. When it fails to provide adequate hot water, clothing starts coming out of the wash looking dingy and dishes just aren’t as sparkly as they once were, not to mention a cold shower, it’s noticeable to all! Know what the signs are and what to do when your water heater is not making the grade.

If you are experiencing any of the ‘symptoms’ below, there is likely something wrong with your water heater:

Running out of hot water quicker than normal

  • Sedimentation, a buildup of sediment in the bottom of the tank, is the reason for running out of water soon. Sediment collects in the bottom of the water heater creating sludge that replaces water. As a result the volume of water gets reduced.

Water looks rusty and smells bad

  • Rusty water means there is corrosion inside your water heater. If this is the case, the tank and anode rods need to be checked, determine which is the culprit and repair or replace.
  • Bad odor in water. This is also caused by sediment. Over time sediment breeds bacteria. A decaying anode gives off hydrogen gas, which nourishes the bacteria; these bacteria produce a nasty smell, like rotten eggs. Get rid of the sediment to get rid of the smell.

Water heater makes noises

  • If your water heater is making noises, that means the water is overheating. This again is attributed to the sediment buildup. The noise is produced when the water in the tank begins to boil.

Water heater is leaking

  • If you have a puddle underneath your water heater, check it out. This can be due to gaskets or fittings or nearby pipes. Tighten gaskets or fittings.
  • The temperature pressure valve (TPR) can also create a puddle, make sure the TPR is closing correctly. Sometimes the TPR is defective and will need to be replaced. A non-functioning TPR valve is very serious and can even cause your tank to explode. Have a professional plumber replace defective TPR valves immediately.
  • If you notice rusty water around the bottom of your water heater chances are the bottom has rusted out and it is leaking. The only solution at this point is to replace your water heater.

One of the most important ways to prevent these common problems is to make sure you are following a regular maintenance plan with your water heater. Drain your water heater on an annual basis. This rids the tank of sediment buildup, which left unchecked causes a multitude of problems.