If you can't remember the last time you replaced your water heater, it might be time for a new one. This is particularly true if it's been at least 10 years. Studies show that most water heaters only have a life span of about 10 years. Luckily, most water heaters will give you some warning before they break down for good. Here are some signs that your water heater might be on its last legs.
Puddles Under the Tank
As your water heater ages, the tank begins to weaken and the gaskets begin to deteriorate. When both of those things happen at the same time, you may notice small puddles of water begin to form under your water heater. That's usually one of the first signs that your water heater is about to break down. If you see puddles under your water heater, check the fill valve located at the front of your tank. If you don't see leaks, that means the water is coming from around the base of your water heater. If that's the case, you need to have your water heater replaced before the tank ruptures and causes a flood of hot water.
Unusual sounds are often another sign that your water heater is need of repair or replacement, especially if you're hearing loud popping that sounds like a pot of rapidly boiling water. If you hear that, the pressure relief valve could be stuck, which means too much pressure is building up inside the tank. If you do hear a loud popping sound coming from your water heater, turn it off and have it looked at before you use it again.
Dirty Hot Water
If you just turned your hot water on and had brown water coming out of the faucet, you should flush your water heater as soon as possible. Here are some step-by-step instructions for flushing your tank.
- Turn your water heater off.
- Open the water release valve that's on top of your water heater.
- Remove the valve cover.
- Pour 2 cups of bleach into your water heater.
- Allow the water inside the tank to cool for about 2 hours.
- Attach your garden hose to the water release valve located at the bottom of your water heater.
- Open the valve and allow the water to drain from the tank.
- Be sure that the hose is positioned so that the water drains into your yard.
- Once your water heater is empty, place the cover back on the top fill valve and close the cold water valve.
- Remove your garden hose and close the front fill valve.
- Turn your water heater back on.
- Allow the water to heat.
- Turn the hot water on in your house and look for sediment.
- If the water is still dirty, you need a new water heater.
If your water heater is giving you trouble it might be time to contact a plumber. Use the information provided above to troubleshoot the problems you might be experiencing with your water heater. Contact a business, such as Knights Plumbing & Drain, for more information.