There’s nothing worse than switching on the shower or faucet only to discover you have no hot water, especially in colder months. A broken water heater can cause serious discomfort and inconvenience.
There are some key warning signs that you may need a water heater repair. Knowing how to spot issues early can often stop small problems from developing into bigger ones. Here are the most common signs that your water heater may not be working properly and how to handle them. If you notice one or more of these signs, it’s time to call in a San Antonio, TX plumber right away.
1. Insufficient Hot Water
If your water heater isn’t producing enough hot water to supply all your fixtures, this is a sign that it’s not working efficiently. For example, you may find that taking a shower means you won’t have enough hot water to do the dishes. A water heater that’s working properly should be able to adequately supply all the faucets and showers in your home with hot water.
A low hot water supply is sometimes caused by your water heater tripping the circuit and ending up on the wrong setting. If this keeps happening, it could mean that there is a problem with the heater’s electrics. This will need fixing by a technician as soon as possible.
If your water heater hasn’t been producing enough hot water for some time, it may be too small to supply your home adequately. A professional will be able to tell you if you have the correct size of unit. If you don’t, you may want to consider buying a water heater with a bigger tank. Another alternative is to install a tankless water heating system which heats water as you need it.
A small amount of condensation on your water heater is no cause for alarm. However, if you notice water leaking from the unit or accumulating around it, this is a sign of a serious problem. It can be dangerous to try to inspect a leaking water heater yourself. Instead, you should disconnect the power supply and book a professional water heater repair. If the leak is coming from the tank itself, it may need to be replaced.
3. Changing Water Temperature
If you notice fluctuations in the water temperature coming from your shower or faucets, you may need a water heater repair. Irregular water temperature is often caused by a build-up of mineral deposits around the heating elements, preventing them from working effectively.
If your water heater is relatively new, this can usually be fixed by repairing or replacing the heating elements. However, if you have an old unit, it may be cheaper to replace it than to keep paying for repeated water heater repairs.
4. Discolored Water
The water running from your faucets should always be clear. Slightly cloudy water when you first switch the faucet on isn’t usually a sign of a problem as long as it runs clear after a short time.
However, water that is brown, reddish or has dark-colored particles is a sign that sediment has built up inside your water heater. This can cause a health hazard, so you should call out a specialist to clean the water tank and inspect it for signs of rust.
5. Unpleasant Odors
If you notice an unpleasant rotten egg smell when you run the faucets, this indicates a build up of bacteria inside your water tank. This can usually be solved by flushing the hot water tank, which is a relatively quick and straightforward water heater repair job. If you’re confident, you could try flushing the tank yourself and see if this solves the issue. If you’re unsure, or the smell persists even after flushing, book a professional to come and check your system.
6. Reduced Flow
If your water isn’t flowing like it used to, this could be a sign of sediment or scale in your water heater or pipes. This will get worse the longer you leave it and potentially leave you without hot water. A professional can descale your unit and carry out cleaning of the pipes to solve the problem and get your water flowing properly again.
7. Strange Noises
Most water heaters make a little low-level noise. However, you shouldn’t ignore banging or clanking sounds coming from the unit. This is often a sign of mineral build-up inside your water heater. If you delay calling out a water heater repair service, your unit could eventually start to leak. If this happens, you may need to replace the entire unit. A plumber can solve the issue by thoroughly flushing and cleaning the inside of your heating system.
How to Avoid a Water Heater Repair
While some causes of water heater repair can’t be avoided, there are some simple steps you can take to stop problems developing with your system. These include:
- draining some of the water from the heater tank twice a year to stop sediment building up
- insulating your heater
- checking the pressure and condition of the relief valve
- scheduling maintenance once a year with a San Antonio, TX water heater repair professional
The Bottom Line
Problems with your hot water supply can be a real pain, especially during the winter months. Ignoring problems can lead to serious and costly damage to your water heating system, so it’s important to deal with any issues as soon as possible. Bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of San Antonio, TX can help you with all aspects of water heater installation, maintenance and repair to keep your heating system running perfectly.