Water heaters have a life span of 10-12 years. Much like any home appliance, it will stop working one day without much notice. The older the appliance, the more likely you could have a water heater failure. A leaky water heater not only leaves you without hot water, but you can end up with damage to the floors around the appliance and more.
Water Heater Maintenance Could Prevent These Disasters!
A house was on the market, and the owners had a showing. Everything had seemed fine with their 15 year-old water heater. The potential buyers noticed a leak in the water heater. Luckily there was not much damage but the owner needed to replace flooring and install a new water heater before selling the home. Regular water heater maintenance may have identified the potential for a leak, and prevented damage to the flooring.
Water heaters have a pressure-relief valve attached to a drain line channeled outside. If it overheats, the valve opens, draining water so the tank doesn’t explode. In one case, the homeowner substituted a turkey baster for a drain line. “It would have blown the turkey baster away,” spewing hot water, the home inspector said. Water heater maintenance by a licensed plumber includes reviewing all elements of the appliance for safety and operation.
A homeowner identified problems with the pipes in his house. He hired a plumber to repair the pipe, and learned the source of the problem. Water expands as it is warmed inside a water heater tank. The increasing water pressure damaged pipes throughout the house. An expansion tank was installed before more damage occurred. Proper inspection and water heater maintenance by a licensed plumber may have avoided damage to pipes in the house.
The best course of action to avoid disaster is to conduct regular water heater maintenance. If your hot water heater is not functioning properly, use this check-list to trouble-shoot the issue:
- Power: Has the circuit breaker tripped?
- Not enough hot water: Check the thermostat. Look for loose wiring.
- Takes too long to reheat: Again, check the thermostat. Check for sediment build up. Is the heating element bad?
- Water is too hot: Check the temperature settings. Is the thermostat malfunctioning?
- Noise: Look for scale build up.
- Black or rusty colored water: Is there scale build up on the elements or a rusty anode?
- Foul odor: Build up of bacteria in the tank. Flush the tank, or replace the anode.
- Pressure relief valve leaking: Replace immediately. If this goes bad before it releases you could cause damage to your home.
- The tank is leaking: Turn off main water.