Go Back

Is a Malfunctioning Water Heater Causing Problems?

Three Signs That a Water Heater Needs Repairs

The U.S. Department of Energy notes that some water heater issues are so obvious that one doesn't even need to consider calling a professional; they just should. For instance, if a heater is more than 10 years old, it needs replacing. If a water heater constantly needs repairs (or if it can't maintain a consistent temperature), there's no getting around it––a professional should assess it.

However, there are some signs of water heater problems that aren't so obvious. If one experiences any of the following issues with their plumbing system, they should reach out to a professional as soon as possible.

The Water Heater Is Making Strange Noises

Malfunctioning Water Heater

Believe it or not, over time, sediment in the water heater's tank can build up, creating unpleasant sounds. It may sound like something is popping or banging inside the tank. Not only is this inconvenient, but it could compromise the water's integrity. Eventually, it can even lead to "hard water," which can lead to skin irritation.
To address this problem, a plumber may try flushing the system, removing the dirty water, and replacing it with crisp water. During an inspection, the plumber may find that the system's anode rod is corroded. This component draws sediment from the water, minimizing how sediment makes it through the faucet.
These are not tasks that one should take on by themselves. Rather than waste time and money trying to fix the issue, they should consult a licensed professional. They can address sediment buildup and other underlying problems.

Discolored or Foul-Smelling Water Comes Out of the Faucet

Foul-Smelling Water

Water heaters rely on a system of pipes to work. Ideally, these pipes will last for the entirety of the water heater's lifespan, and homeowners will never need to replace them. Yet, this is not the case for everyone.

When discolored or foul-smelling water comes out of the shower or bathtub faucet, it's likely because the water heater's pipes have rusted or corroded. This could happen if:

  • Improper pipe installation
  • Humidity
  • Water damage
  • Mold or fungus growth
  • The water's chemical composition
  • Corrosive materials

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that small amounts of rust in water aren't harmful. However, large amounts of discolored or foul-smelling water aren't sanitary and, in extreme amounts, aren't safe for consumption or bathing.

The Hot Water Heater Constantly Leaks

The older a water heater gets, the more likely it is to leak. This can cause:

  • Higher-than-average water bills
  • Poor water pressure
  • Fluctuating temperatures
  • Water damage
  • Mold growth

If a water heater constantly leaks, despite repeated repairs, a professional may suggest water heater replacement. They may even suggest installing a tankless water heater. Per the United States Department of Energy, some benefits of tankless water heaters include:

  • They're smaller than traditional water heaters, which can fit into tight spaces
  • They generally need less energy to work, ultimately cutting down on power bills
  • They can last 20 years––about 10 years longer than their tank-reliant counterparts

A professional can assess one's water consumption needs and explain whether a tankless water heater could benefit their home.