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3 Common Signs of a Faulty Water Heater

Back in the day, people used to have to boil their water before bathing in it, so that it would be warm for sitting in. Or, they would just bathe in cold water. Though this might sound refreshing after spending the day outside in the heat of summer, it doesn’t feel so refreshing when it’s the only option available.

It’s hard to imagine life back in these times before water heaters were available. Things are so convenient now with more temperature options than ever. When people have water heater issues, it’s a big deal and a big inconvenience. So what are the common signs of a broken (or breaking) water heater?

One of the biggest signs, as most homeowners could predict, is cold water. Having cold water run out of the faucet or showerhead despite having the hot water knob turned on is a telltale sign that something is wrong. It’s important that homeowners pay attention to this sign and fully investigate to determine if the water heater is indeed the home’s issue.

Sign 1: Noisy Water Heater

noisy water heaterMost machines in the house will make some kind of noise naturally. No washing machine is completely silent, no dishwasher goes completely unnoticed while it’s running, and noisy water heaters exist as well.

However, if a water heater becomes unusually loud, it’s important to check out what's going on. If the water heater is making a loud popping sound, there’s likely some mineral deposit and sediment build-up.

As debris comes into the water heater from the water supply, it builds up at the bottom of the water heater tank. When water gets trapped below the sediment and starts to heat, bubbles will form and eventually explode making a loud popping sound.

If there is a sizzling noise coming from the water heater, there is likely a restriction of water flow. The temperature and pressure relief valve is designed to let out water if there is too much pressure. So when there is water coming out of this valve, there is some sort of pressure problem, and a professional plumber should be contacted.

A hammering sound is also quite common. When there is an abrupt stop to the water flow, the water has nowhere to go, so it will try to return in the direction it came from and make a loud hammering sound. This can be quite destructive to the water heater causing components to break or malfunction.

Sign 2: Colored Water

Most people would agree that when water comes out of the faucet it should be clear and transparent, but what if you're getting dirty water There shouldn’t be little dirt specks floating around in it, and it shouldn’t have a cloudy appearance. When water is discolored, musty, or rusty looking, this another sign of a broken water heater.

colored water

This type of reaction could be due to one of several reasons. It could be sediment build-up on the bottom of the water heater tank, corrosion in the water heater or pipes, or an aging water heater. Contacting a professional can help find the root cause and determine if the water heater needs to be replaced.

Sign 3: Metallic Water

metallic waterWater tastes like...nothing really. Of course, it does have a distinct taste because people can tell when they’re drinking water or another beverage. But it doesn’t have much flavor to it. If the water starts to smell or taste metallic, it is not normal and not great to drink.

When the water heater starts to break down, metal from the heater can seep into the water and cause that metallic taste. In this case, it’s important to replace the water heater right away.

About Gene Johnson Plumbing & Heating

At Gene Johnson Plumbing & Heating, their customers’ safety and comfort come first! They treat every service call with the same level of urgency so all customers who need plumbing services in Seattle, WA can get on with their lives sooner. All their services are matched by quality workmanship, trusted results, and long-term peace of mind.

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