Your water heater is an essential element of your home because it supplies hot water for a variety of everyday activities, from bathing to doing laundry and washing dishes. Water heaters are critical to our daily lives, so it’s important to know what to do if you think yours is going bad. 

First, you need to identify the issue or issues that suggest your water heater is starting to fail. This will help you decide whether you should have it repaired or replaced, which would likely involve comparing tankless water heater vs tank heater systems. Here are some of the common signs that may indicate your water heater is going bad.

Signs Your Water Heater Is Going Bad

To keep your water heater performing at an optimal level, you should check it on a regular basis so you can identify any potential issues that need to be addressed. Here are some of the most common warning signs that your hot water heater is going bad.

  • Strange noises – Listen for odd sounds such as banging, rattling, and popping. These noises are usually due to the buildup of sediment on the tank’s bottom, and it can make the water heater overheat and fail eventually.
  • Lower or varying water temperature – If the temperature of the water coming from your water heater is inconsistent or noticeably cooler than usual, this could signal the unit is going bad. Irregularities in temperature can indicate a much more serious problem, so it’s essential to have a professional check it out as soon as possible.
  • Low water pressure – If your cold water faucets have normal water pressure but your hot water faucets produce water with low pressure, this could be another indicator of sediment buildup in your tank. 
  • Rusty or discolored water – If your hot water is starting to look discolored, yellow, or rusty, the anode rod in your water heater tank may be starting to fail. The purpose of the anode rod is to protect the tank’s interior against corrosion, so if it’s starting to fail, the tank itself will rust, which will cause major issues over time.
  • Less hot water – If you’re running out of hot water faster than usual, your water heater may be going bad. When water heaters start to fail, they’re often unable to heat water properly, which can result in less hot water available for showers and other daily needs. 
  • Leaks – If your water heater is leaking, it’s definitely time to replace it. A water heater is supposed to be airtight, so any type of leak is a sign something has failed. A leaking water heater can cause significant damage to your home, so if you find a leak, turn your water heater off immediately and have a professional check it out for you.
  • Repeated need for repairs – If your water heater is being repaired often, that’s a good sign it’s probably time to have it replaced. Each time you have it repaired, the chances of new problems developing or old problems getting worse increases. In the long run, the most cost-effective choice will probably be to have your water heater replaced.
  • Your water heater’s age – The average water heater has a life span of about eight to twelve years. It may be time for a new water heater if yours is close to this age or older. 
  • Higher energy costs – Over the years, minerals from the water settle in the bottom of the tank and cause your water heater to work less efficiently. If your energy bills are starting to go up, it may be a sign your water heater is losing efficiency.
  • Odd-smelling water – If your water smells strange, it may be because of bacteria growing in your water heater’s tank. Bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments such as those in water heaters, particularly if the temperature is below 120 degrees. Rust and corrosion can also cause the growth of bacteria. You may be able to eliminate bacteria by draining your tank and treating your water, but if that doesn’t work, you may need to replace your water heater.

If you see signs that your water heater is failing and you wait until it goes bad before you replace it, the best-case scenario is that you could be without hot water for several days. In the worst-case scenario, your water heater bursts and 50 gallons of water pour into your home or garage, causing severe damage that can be extremely costly. In the long run, replacing your water heater before you experience an emergency situation will save you money and stress, and you won’t be pressured to make quick decisions you may regret later. 

Replacing Your Water Heater

If you see any signs that your water heater may be going bad, consult a professional right away. The professional will be able to diagnose the problem and suggest the best course of action for your circumstances.

If you make the decision to have your water heater replaced, a tankless hot water heater is a great option. As the name implies, these types of water heaters don’t have tanks, and because they only heat the water when you need it, they have longer life spans than traditional water heaters. In addition, they’re extremely energy efficient, which will save you money on your energy bills. 

When you’re ready to replace your current water heater with a tankless water heater, call on the experienced pros from Arnett’s Water Systems, the specialists in tankless water heater installation San Diego homeowners trust for high-quality products and exceptional service at a reasonable price. Call one of our friendly team members today at (619) 223-1209 to learn how a tankless water heater can be the perfect choice for you and your family.