What’s Wrong with My Water Heater?

How to Tell What’s Stopping You from Getting the Hot Water You Need

It’s the beginning of every homeowner’s worst nightmare – unusual behavior from your water heater. Maybe it’s making strange sounds, or your getting sudden flashes of cold water in your hot shower. Whatever it is, if your water heater doesn’t start working like it usually does again soon, you could find yourself living with no hot water at all.

But it’s one thing to know that your water heater is exhibiting signs of an imminent failure, and another to understand the causes of these behaviors. Knowing what’s wrong with your water heater can save you a lot of time and inconvenience on diagnostics, and in certain situations, help you fix the problem yourself.

Know What the Common Warning Signs Indicate

Every warning sign that our plumbers tell you to watch out for is caused by a different potential problem with your water heater. We asked our team to outline the root issues behind some of the most common behaviors a broken water heater will exhibit.

Strange Noises and Low Water Pressure

If you’re hearing strange rumbling, rattling, or bumping sounds, or if your water pressure isn’t what it used to be, you’re likely dealing with sludge and sediment buildup within your water heater’s tank. If left unaddressed, these substances can continue to build up and affect your unit’s performance. That can also damage your tank and cut off your hot water supply entirely. Luckily, this issue has a simple fix – regularly draining your water heater will prevent buildup and remove any sediment that’s already present.

Rusty, Off-Color, or Foul-Smelling Water

Unusual water can mean that your water heater’s tank has started rusting or corroding from the inside out. However, this particular issue is a tricky one, as the problem could be caused by similar corrosion in your pipes. Both issues will require a professional plumber to resolve, but one is far less invasive and will cause you a lot less stress.

An easy way to determine the source of the contamination is to check if the problem only occurs in hot water. If you turn off the hot water in your home and your water is still strange, the issue is in your pipes. However, if your cold water is perfectly fine, your water heater is the source of the problem.

Never Enough Hot Water

No matter how short your showers are or how much you try to conserve it, there’s just never enough hot water to go around. This could mean one of two things:

  • An issue with your temperature dial – This one’s easy to fix – just adjust the dial about 30 degrees higher, wait about an hour, and see if you’re hot water issues are solved. You can also check your circuit breaker to see if your unit is getting the power it needs. If these simple fixes don’t resolve the issue, call a plumber to get things looked at professionally.
  • A faulty burner or broken ignition – Alternatively, the problem could be with one of the components that is responsible for heating your water. While come of these components can be easily replaced, some will require a full water heater replacement. Contact our water heater experts to help you find the best solution for your unit.

Is it Time for a Replacement?

Sometimes, no matter how many times you fix your water heater, these issues just keep popping back up. When that happens, it’s time to seriously consider getting a new water heater. Frequent issues with your water heater likely indicate that your unit is too old and has accumulated too much wear-and-tear to provide you with efficient service.

Our licensed professionals recommend replacing your water heater every 10 years or so. When the time comes, our water heater specialists can help you find and install an efficient new unit.

Skip to content