Many people are unaware of when their water heater is about to breakdown, despite there being visible signs to look out for – not just water leaks from beneath the garage or wet carpet.
Damage and disruption of a deteriorating water heater can be avoided by paying attention to these four signs:
Water Heater Failure: What's the Age of Your Water Heater?
Knowing how old your water heater is can be very essential to determining its failure. This information can be found on the serial number written on the manufacturer's sticker usually placed on the upper side of the water heater unit.
The manufacturing date of the water heater is embedded in the serial number, written in date codes like "F051052638". The month is represented by F – which is the sixth alphabetical letter – in this case the sixth month, June.
Then, the year is represented by the first two digits, 05 here meaning 2005. This date code translates that the manufacturing date of this water heater is June 2005.
Water Heater Failure: Repair or Replace?
Please note that date codes may vary depending on the manufacturer, so it is important to visit the manufacturer's website. In general, most heater units older than 10 years should be replaced.
If your water heater unit is positioned in such a place where a leak will not result in damages, then you can hold on its replacement until a leak develops.
But then again, that isn't recommended. If the location of your water heater is otherwise, you really should get it replaced after 10 years (or even before, if you experience any of the following signs).
Water Heater Failure: Rusty Water
If you find that rusty water comes from the hot side piping of your water heater, this could indicate that your unit is rusting internally and leaks may occur soon. Then again, you may experience this if you have galvanized pipes which are rusting.
You can test this effectively by draining a few 5 gal buckets of hot water from the water heater. If at the third bucket your hot water is still rusty, then it is most likely caused by a failing water heater rather than the piping.
Water Heater Failure: Noise and Rumbling
Over time, sediments accumulate at the base of the tank of a water heater. The reheating process inside the heater will eventually harden the sediment.
Here you will often hear banging noises or rumbling within the heater unit as it heats up. This indicates that the water heater unit is due for replacement.
The hardened sediment layer means that:
Reduced efficiency – more power will be consumed for the heater unit to function. Increased damage – the metal tank will wear out more from additional heating times, leading to a more brittle metal tank which can develop holes and crack at any moment.
If you notice rumbling from your heater, look out for tiny leaks. If any, then you may proceed to have your water heater unit replaced.
Water Heater Failure: Water Surrounding the Water Heater
If any moisture is noticed around your water heater, then there may be a tiny leak or fractured tank. Expansion occurs as the metal is heated, and water could leak from the tank if slight fractures exist.
Once the metal cools down, the inside of the tank will cease to leak. However, before you have the unit replaced, ensure that there is no leak from the connections or tank fittings.
Also check that there is no leak in the temperature/pressure overflow pipe. If no leaks exist in these areas, then you may replace your water heater unit.
If you find any of the above indicators or are concerned about breakdown of your water heater unit, get in touch with a plumber or company involved in water heater servicing.
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