Modern appliances certainly make life more convenient and enjoyable. Your kitchen is literally designed around modern appliances. Then there’s the laundry room appliances and the bathroom plumbing fixtures. Though, do you give much thought to your water heater? Probably not—until there’s a water heater problem and no hot water, or you hear strange noises coming from the water heater.

Your water heater plays a very important role in the convenience of comfort of daily modern living. So, when your water heater is showing signs it needs some attention, pay attention! What follows are five signs that your water heater does indeed need some TLC.

Water Heater Is Leaking

Leaks are common problems for older water heaters. Most water heater leaks can be repaired so that you don’t have to replace the entire appliance. The following are common water heater leaks that signal you need to call your plumbing pro:

  • Shutoff valve: The water supply line to the water heater has a shutoff valve. Corrosion is common around old valves. Don’t attempt to turn off the valve because if it is too corroded, it could break and then you have a much larger problem on your hands—and floor as water spills out of the supply line.
  • T&P: The temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve is a built-in safety mechanism to prevent water heaters from rupturing or even exploding. The T&P relief valve is located near the top of the water heater on the side. The valve will typically have a long plastic hose extending downward to control the direction of hot water release. If you see water dripping from the T&P or the tube, call your plumber ASAP!
  • Gaskets: Electric water heaters have one or two heating elements. These are located at the bottom and middle of the water heater. When the gaskets are worn out, leaks are common in these areas.
  • Pooling water: If you see water pooling under or around the water heater, the water heater has likely sustained irreparable damage (usually from corrosion due to age) and needs to be replaced.

Water Heater Makes Strange Noises

Maybe you’ve heard strange noises from a water heater before. Whether pop, bang, boom, rattling, or whistling, any strange noises from your water heater indicates a repair or possibly an emergency.

  • Pop, bang, boom: Popping, banging, and booming noises are typically the most alarming noises a water heater makes, but they actually indicate sediment and mineral build up—not an emergency situation. Your plumber will drain the tank and clean out the sediment and mineral deposits, and you should be good to go after that.
  • Rattling: Rattling noises from the water heater typically indicate the dip tube has broken and is hitting the inside walls of the water heater tank. This is usually age related, and you may be better off installing a new water heater with better service and energy efficiency.
  • Whistling: Whistling noises from the water heater are not not a good sign. At best, the drain valve and/or the shutoff valve needs to be replaced. At worst, the T&P valve isn’t working properly, and your water heater is in danger of rupturing.

Intermittent Hot Water

When your hot and warm water temperatures aren’t consistent, it’s not a very pleasant experience when bathing. Intermittent hot water typically indicates a problem with the heating elements in electric water heaters and a broken dip tube in electric or gas water heaters.

Dip tubes direct cold water supply to the bottom of the water heater. As the cooler water heats up, it rises to the top of the tank. With a broken dip tube, cold inlet water mixes with hot water inside the water heater and causes uneven temperatures at fixtures and showers/tubs.

Unpleasant Water Taste or Odor

Rust, chemicals, bacteria, and/or sediment—even in small amounts—affect water quality in regards to taste and odor. Foul taste or odors in hot water typically indicate the anode rod needs to be replaced. This is normal. The anode rod is designed to extract impurities in the water. When doing this, the anode rod itself deteriorates, thereby, allowing your water heater to last longer. Anode rods need to be replaced on average every 4 to 6 years.

Discolored Water

Discolored water is an indicator of rust and/or bacteria. Both problems should be addressed by your plumber to determine if the water heater needs to be cleaned out to remove bacteria and impurities or if the water heater is rusting out and needs to be replaced for safety and before it ruptures.

When your water heater needs repair or you need a new water heater, contact the plumbing pros at MN Plumbing and Home Services. We serve more than 800 happy customers each and every month. Contact us online or call us at (952) 469-8341 for all your plumbing needs!