Home Appliances

How to Recognize Water Heater Failure Before It Occurs

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Most of us are guilty of neglecting our water heaters, even though they are essential to our way of life. This is the appliance that most of us take for granted and all but ignore its presence. Only when it begins to leak all over the place, or fails to heat our water do we realize something is wrong, by which time there is often nothing left to do but consider buying a new water heater.  There are however a few signs to watch out for, that may alert us to a problem before it happens.

  1. Rusty water

When water appears rusty, this can often be from old galvanised pipes, but it could also be coming from inside the tank. One way to test this is to run off a couple buckets of water; if it is the pipes, the water should be running clear at least by the second bucket. If the water continues to come out rusty, this probably means it is the tank which is rusting inside, and should be replaced before it begins to crack and leak.

  1. Rumbling Noises

Rumbling or banging noises coming from the tank could indicate a sediment build-up inside, which will harden over continued use. You may be able to save the heater if you call a plumber quickly, but it may already be too late and the heater will have to be replaced.

In hard water areas, mineral build-up will occur more quickly, so water softeners are advised. Ask your local plumber when you first move into a property or purchase a new heater about water types in your area. If you are thinkng of buying a new water heater see www.plumbingpriceguides.com to get an idea of water heater installation costs.

  1. Water Heater Age

If you did not purchase the heater yourself, you should find out the age of the appliance. This can be found in the manufacturers’ serial number; the date it was made will be coded into this number. First should be a letter, i.e. E, which represents May, being the fifth letter of the alphabet. Then you should see 2 numbers, i.e. 03 or 04, representing the year. That is if the serial number begins with E04, the heater was made in May of 2004, or G03 would mean made in July 2003. It is imperative to find the date of manufacture, because if the heater is more than 10 years old, it will probably need replacing, especially if it is in a place where any leakage would cause major damage to your home. If on the other hand the heater is in a basement or another localised situation, you could leave it until any noticeable leaks occur, but you should keep a constant eye on an old tank.

  1. Leakage

The other sign of damage is leakage, which if slight could only mean a bad seal on the pipes, and an easy fix, but leakage from the tank itself would probably signify damage or wear in the tank and would mean replacement is necessary.

A good plumber will be able to rectify any small problems, and you can also request periodical checkups of your heater, to avoid any major catastrophes. Above all, try not to ignore your water heater, it does a great job!