No matter what season it is here in Lubbock, TX, there is one appliance in your home that provides you with comfort and works all year round. No, we aren’t talking about your air conditioner (remember winter 2020? Definitely didn’t need your AC then!) but rather your water heater.
This is that one system that’s easiest to take for granted in your home–you turn on a tap or appliance in the household and just expect that hot water will come flowing through.
But when you think about all the stress this system goes through, you begin to understand that you cannot expect to work 100% free from errors for decades without taking proper care of it. At some point, you’ll need to call for professional water heater repairs. But how do you know when it’s time?
Here are some clues:
A Decline in Hot Water Volume
Have you discovered that occupants of your household are starting to complain about going with lukewarm showers in the morning? If this is a new problem, and there used to be plenty of hot water to go around every morning, then your water heater is losing heating power for some reason.
This is one of the more common signs that a water heater either needs to be repaired, or if it’s old enough may even need to be replaced.
If you turn on a hot water tap and notice rusty brown discoloration in the water–similar to what you may see when you turn on the faucets after being gone on a long vacation–it typically means there is too much sediment inside your hot water tank, and it needs to be drained and flushed.
Alternatively, this could be a sign of corrosion, which we’ll get too next.
Your tank water heater has a component in it called an anode rod. This rod is tasked with absorbing rust that occurs when water meets metal. This is often called the sacrificial anode rod, because due to its job, it doesn’t last forever.
The anode rod has to be replaced every several years, and will not last as long as the rest of the water heater. What happens if it’s not replaced in a timely manner is that corrosion will start impacting the lining of the tank, instead, and once that happens, your water heater will have reached a point it needs replacement.
That said, if you see corrosion on the exterior of the tank, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is corrosion on the inside, but it’s absolutely something you need to have checked out by a professional, just in case.
Rumbling Sounds from the Tank
Does your home suffer from hard water? This is water with a high level of minerals in it–namely magnesium and calcium, and sometimes iron. These minerals are harmless for us to ingest, but they’re not so harmless to your plumbing system.
What happens is the minerals harden and create what’s called scaling in your plumbing system. When this happens inside the water heater, the sediment will settle on the bottom of the tank, and you’ll hear it rattling (rumbling) around as the heat exchangers work to heat up the water.