Signs Your Water Heater is Going Bad

Signs Your Water Heater is Going Bad

It’s the height of summer, and with the heat we try to think cool. Cool rooms, cool drinks, cool showers…they all help to keep us from roasting in the high temperatures. The last thing you’re probably thinking of this time of year is taking a hot shower!

But hold on…fall is coming soon, and with it comes cooler temperatures and an increase in hot water usage. Is your water heater up to the challenge, or is it on its last legs? If you want to be able to enjoy a nice hot shower on chilly mornings throughout the fall and winter, you need to make sure your water heater is still working properly.

6 Signs Your Water Heater Is Going to Fail

Luckily there are warning signs of impending water heater failure that, if heeded, can help you avoid a worst-case scenario (i.e. no hot water at all!). If you see any of these signs, call a water heater professional who can diagnose and fix the problem, or replace the water heater altogether, if needed.

  1. Water is leaking from the heating tank – If you see water dripping from the tank or pooling under the water heater, you’ve got a leak. (You may also see water dripping from nearby pipes.) Sometimes it’s an easy fix – a valve may need closing, or a connection may need tightening. If there’s an actual leak in the tank, however, you’ll need to replace your water heater. 
  2. You’re running out of hot water quickly – There’s nothing worse than having the hot water run out on you right in the middle of your shower. If you keep running out of hot water when bathing, doing the dishes, or washing your hands, that’s a sign that your water heater cannot keep up with the demand.

    One problem may be an accumulation of sediment, often due to having hard water (which Colorado is known for). The buildup of sediment leaves less space for hot water in the tank, thus causing you to run out of it quickly. Regular flushing of your water heater can help (done every other year or so), but if it doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to look into getting a new one. A plumber can make a recommendation for the best option. 
  3. The water temperature is inconsistent – If your hot water runs hot, then cold, then hot, then cold…, that’s another sign of a failing water heater. Sometimes it’s just the thermostat that needs fixing, but if the heating elements are broken, you should think about just getting a new water heater, especially if it is older than 7 years. 
  4. You see discolored water from the faucets – Seeing murky brown or rust-colored water from the faucets in your home? That’s a sign that the interior coating of the water heater tank is beginning to thin, causing rust to form inside the tank. Replacing the anode rods and/or flushing the unit can help, but if it doesn’t, that means the tank is probably shot. 
  5. You hear strange noises in the water heater – If you hear weird noises coming from your water heater, that probably means the water heater element is going bad. This may be caused by any number of issues, so it’s best to have a professional come and take a look at it to see if it can be fixed or if you need a new unit. 
  6. Your water heater is over 10 years old – Water heaters don’t last forever – in fact, they typically have a life of 10-15 years. Yes, it’s going to cost you some money, but newer units are more energy-efficient than older ones, and can save you money in the long run.

If you see any of the above signs of a failing water heater, call Garvin’s – water heater repair and water heater replacement are just a couple of the many plumbing services we offer. We’ll make sure you have plenty of hot water for the cooler months ahead!

What’s the Best Water Heater?

What’s the Best Water Heater?

Is it time to replace your old water heater? Or maybe you are doing research because you are ready to upgrade? Either way, it’s smart to learn more so you aren’t in a situation where you must make a high-pressure decision or face taking cold showers!

Consider this a Water Heater 101 as we answer some of our customer’s top questions about water heater replacement.

How long does a water heater last?

The quality of the water heater makes a difference in how long it will last. Your water purity also matters as hard water ages your water appliances faster than filtered water. That being said, you can expect your water heater to last 7-14 years. 

How old is my water heater?

To determine the age of your water heater, you will want to check the manufacturer label. This video will give you a clue about where to find it and determine the age.

However, if you notice that your water isn’t staying as hot as it used to, or you are hearing noises or the water smells, it may be time for a service call, regardless of the age of the unit.

What is the best water heater?

The best water heater depends on YOU. There are some brands who are well known because of their commercials. There are also brands that are high quality that you aren’t aware of because they are only available to those of us professionals in the industry.

Your best water heater is based on your budget, how long you plan to be in your house, the size of your household and your water demands. A good plumber will provide you with a few options or give you an estimate based on the needs you have shared with them.

How big of a water heater do I need?

To balance energy efficiency, cost benefits, and water supply needs, you should choose a water heater based on your household demand. If you find you are constantly running out of hot water, that’s a good sign you need a larger heater. (Or, your water heater needs to be serviced because it isn’t running efficiently.)

What about tankless water heaters?

Tankless water heaters are a great option for homeowners who have high demands for hot water on an ongoing basis. There are other considerations as well, such as space, venting, and current configurations, as these are likely to change. These changes can incur additional costs, but there are right times to do it, such as with a new build or remodel, or when the demand just makes sense.

What is an expansion tank?

An expansion tank is part of replacing a water heater that brings it up to current plumbing codes. When water heats up, it creates steam and expands, and when it cools, it reduces. This repetitive expansion and contraction can cause extra pressure on the pipes and fixtures, causing them to crack or explode.

An expansion tank is designed to hold the water that overflows so the additional pressure isn’t put on the system. This helps it last longer and keeps it safer for your family. 

It is cheaper to leave it off – and that’s how some companies “save” you money. In essence, they aren’t following current plumbing code and are leaving your home at risk for a rupture and resulting water damage. For pennies on the dollar, you are being preventative by installing a new expansion tank with your water heater.

Is there a benefit to electric versus gas?

There are different reasons for why someone would choose a gas water heater over an electric one. Efficiency, earth friendliness, and current energy configurations are the primary considerations. Talk to your plumber about your goals, and they can suggest the best water heater for your specific needs.

Can I install a water heater myself?

Technically, you can, but we don’t recommend it. As mentioned, safety is a top priority and given it’s likely been nearly a decade since the water heater was last installed, new plumbing codes are in place that make the unit safer and more efficient. Because we are up to date on this, and each water heater is a bit different, it isn’t the best DIY project. Plus, we handle delivery and disposal, so you don’t have to.

Water heater replacement is something most of our clients aren’t aware we do! Let Garvin’s Sewer Service take care of all your drain and plumbing needs, including water heater repairs and replacement. Give us a call today for a quote or more information and let our 80 years of service work for you in a new way!