Being prepared for the worst allows you to perform the best. But when it comes to water heaters, most homeowners aren’t ready for trouble. They wake up one day to no hot water or a massive leak around their water heater. Instead of waiting for a complete failure, you can call for tankless water heater maintenance and repair before it’s too late.

Is It Possible to Tell When Your Water Heater Will Fail?

None of the appliances in your home will last forever. That said, it’s tough to predict when your water heater will stop delivering you water. If you have a tankless system, it could last you longer than 20 years. Traditional heaters don’t last nearly as long, typically lasting just over ten years. 

However, a heater could surpass its lifespan and last for longer than you expect. And you may not want to replace it before you’re sure the heater is about to fail. Fortunately, there are a few ways to tell when your heater is going to fail you. 

It’s only possible if you pay attention to your heater and call an Evanston plumber at the first sign of trouble. By knowing the common symptoms of failure, you could save money, prevent further damage to the heater, and reduce your inconvenience.

What to Look Out For

So, what do you need to be wary of? If you see any of the following signs, get on the phone with a trustworthy plumber:

Reduced or No Hot Water

In many cases, hot water heater failure is gradual. You might not notice that your hot water is becoming cooler and cooler or only working for a short period of time. A lack of or reduced hot water is an obvious sign that you need a repair. 

Usually, there are a few potential causes for this. But the most common cause is sediment or minerals in the system. Whether you have a traditional or a tankless water heater, sediment can accumulate. Water contains minerals, and those minerals could deposit in your tank. 

As the minerals harden, the heating elements in your heater become less effective. Eventually, they won’t work at all. You can prevent this by performing regular maintenance on your system and using a water softener for hard water. 

Unclear Water

When you look into your sink, you should see clear water. But that’s not always the case. A malfunctioning water heater could make your water cloudy or rusty. Cloudy water is usually a sign of mineral deposits, but reddish water is a sign of rusty parts. 

Either scenario could mean your water heater isn’t long for this world. Although your pipes could cause the color, the problem is worth looking into. A plumber can identify the cause of your colored water.

Strange Sounds

Every home has its noises, and you probably know where those noises come from. When your AC kicks on, there’s probably a quiet hum. Your ice machine might make a loud clunk every time it produces ice. But your water heater shouldn’t add to the cacophony of noise.

For the most part, water heaters are silent. If you begin to hear noises coming from the heater, there’s something wrong with it. Sediment could be in the tank, or you could have another issue. The only way to be sure of the problem is to call a plumber. After inspecting the system, they can diagnose the issue and advise you on a repair. 

Leaky Pressure Relief Valve

On a traditional water heater, the pressure relief valve allows water to escape when the pressure becomes too high. The valve doesn’t last forever and sometimes results in unnecessary leaking. 

As minerals accumulate or rust develops, the valve can fail. Although the fix may be as easy as replacing the valve, it’s not a problem to take lightly. If a pressure relief valve doesn’t work at all, there’s potential for an explosion. There’s no other way for pressure to escape the system, so you should act quickly. 

You can check the drain pan under the heater for water to see if your relief valve might be leaking. Excess water means it’s time for the plumber to come. 

Broken Valve

While a leaky valve is something you can see, a stuck valve is something you need to actively look for. To find out if your valve is stuck, test it. Lift the lever on it up and down, and check for water underneath the spigot. 

Water should come out, or the valve is fully broken. If the water only trickles, there’s an issue with the valve. 

Water Around the Tank

When your water heater has water underneath or around it, you have a serious problem. You could have a crack in the tank or a leak somewhere in the plumbing. Once you have a crack in a tank, the only solution is to replace the heater.

Because the water heater constantly gets hot and cool, the metal expands and contracts. It can only take so much of this, and an older tank is bound to crack. If you catch the leak before it leads to water damage, you save yourself the trouble of needing mold remediation. 

When you notice a leak, shut off the water and call a plumber. Leaving your water on means more water could leak out, and you’ll have more damage. 

Is It Time for Tankless Water Heater Maintenance or Repair?

 You can prevent many of the issues above from happening by scheduling routine maintenance for your water heater. Whether you have a tankless or a traditional system, it needs routine service. A plumber might notice an issue before it leads to total failure.

Even if it’s not the time for maintenance, you should be ready to call the plumber with any concerns. You might not like the color of the water or notice a strange smell. If you see anything that’s unusual, call a plumber for peace of mind. 

Do you need tankless water heater maintenance or repair in Evanston? Give us a call at J. Blanton Plumbing today.