What does it sound like when a water heater goes bad?
Living without hot water isn’t preferred for the majority of people, and hot water heaters are complicated without the correct plumbing know-how. So what are the signs of a bad water heater? What are the common problems water heaters face? Our expert plumbers put together an abbreviated list for our customers in the Arizona area and beyond, so you can understand a little more about the forgotten appliance tucked away in your home.
- No hot water when you turn on the tap. The most obvious issue with your water heater is when it stops heating water. This is a clear sign that will be noticed quickly in your home. The lack of hot water can be caused by many things, and it doesn’t mean the water heater needs to be replaced in every scenario. It’s best to have a plumber investigate the issue.
- Cloudy or rusty hot water. Discolored water is most commonly rust from corrosion in galvanized pipes or water tanks, but coloring in water can also come from bacteria and mineral deposits in your water. This might not be an issue with your water heater, but the plumbing before or after your water heater.
- Strange-tasting or smelling hot water. The most common causes of strange smelling water is hydrogen sulfide, which is caused by bacteria growing in your water heater. Strange tastes can differ depending on the issue. A metallic taste means the water heater’s metals are breaking down internally and transferring to your water. This is a serious health risk and water heater replacement should be prioritized immediately. If hot water has a salty taste, it could be due to an abundance of sodium or salt intrusion from your water supply.
- You find a leak in the tank or lines leading to the heater. Leaks around a water heater are common wear and tear issues. When hot water travels through pipes, it heats the pipe and when the hot water isn’t used anymore, the pipe cools. This causes constant expanding and contracting for the pipes, and over time, it can cause small leaks. You should be visually inspecting your water heater area for drips, pools of water, or small wet areas. If your water heater is in a closet, you might even notice that the closet air feels moist. These are clear indicators that something is wrong with your water heater.
- There are strange and loud noises coming from your water heater. Rumbling, crackling, or popping are common noises from a water heater that has major sediment buildup. As sediment settles on the bottom of the water heater, heated water will begin to rise through and cause popping noises, eventually breaking up the sediment layer. The rumbling or bumping sound can be caused by free pieces of sediment knocking around in the water heater. It’s recommended to drain your water heater once per year to prevent this buildup. If your water heater is over ten years old, and it’s making these noises, it’s best to consider replacing it soon, as draining it can cause more issues.
Are Tanked Water Heaters Obsolete?
Tanked versus tankless water heaters
In 1889 Edwin Ruud, a mechanical engineer invented his first iteration of the hot water heater, heated by gas and providing residents with nearly instantaneous hot water. Technology has certainly improved since then, but the concept is, largely, the same. Tanked water heaters are a proven method that is here to stay for now. As tankless technology continues to improve, it will hold a larger portion of the hot water market, but most households still get their hot water from a tank has a capacity to hold between 30-50 gallons and is kept hot and replenished when necessary. While the clear efficiency benefits exist for a tankless water heater, the tanked water heater is more affordable for most. Tanked water heaters are here to stay for the foreseeable future, at least until tankless becomes more accessible.
To Tank or not to Tank
Comparing tanked and tankless water heaters
In comparison, tanked water heaters are limited to their gallon capacity. When the tank is depleted of hot water, fresh water flows into the tank and is heated by the heating elements. Those elements are either powered by electricity or natural gas. The tank less water heater heats the water as you need it, making it, virtually, limitless because there’s no tank to deplete. If you use water within the limits provided by a tank, though, your upfront costs to install and use your water heater are well within a manageable realm, whereas tank-less has a larger upfront cost, making it inaccessible for most homeowners. Additionally, tank-less water heaters can take longer to deliver hot water, where tanked water heaters have the water on hand, and it just needs to travel through pipes. Tank less heaters also deal with cold water sandwich and a difficulty to achieve a lukewarm temperature. Cold water sandwich is the term that refers to what happens when hot water is used in abrupt spurts. The heater heats the water based on demand, then when the hot water is off, cold water continues down the same pipes as the demand has changed. Then turning on the hot tap again will serve hot, cold, and then hot water again. While this isn’t a problem, it does take getting used to, where a tanked water heater just serves hot water based on demand and is limited only by the distance traveled in your pipes.
I would highly recommend Ground Zero for all plumbing and AC needs!- Sterling S.
A company that values its customers and their time!- Sandy T.
Outstanding admiration toward the customer!- Ali S.
I will always use Ground Zero!- Skye N.
Took the time to explain and educate me!- Jon D.
We wouldn't go anywhere else!- Ashley T.
The only choice for me and my family!- Morgan F.
I'm happy to partner with such a great company!- Scott M.
Talk to our plumbing team today during a free estimate.
We never leave you unhappy! We guarantee it.
We're here to help you whenever you need us.
We offer a variety of options. Call to learn about the details.