Most of us take running hot water for granted. It’s there when you need to wash dishes, do laundry, or take a shower. However, that’s only possible because of your water heater.

Over time, it suffers from wear and tear and will eventually need to be repaired or even replaced completely. Not sure if your water heater needs some professional TLC or if a replacement is in your future? Here are a few signs to watch for.

Little or No Hot Water
Little or no hot water is perhaps the most obvious sign that something’s going wrong. If you turn on the hot water and get lukewarm or cold water, it could be a sign of several things. It could be that the immersion heater has failed, or it might be related to something else entirely. Often, a professional plumber can repair this issue, unless your water heater is 10 years old or older, in which case it should be replaced.

Reduced Hot Water Pressure
If you turn on the hot water and instead of a flood, you get a trickle, it’s a sign that you’ve got mineral buildup causing problems with the flow. This is particularly common in areas with hard water. Again, an experienced plumber can usually repair this type of problem. Flushing your water heater annually will also help prevent mineral buildup.

Changes in Water Color
Has your hot water gone from crystal clear to cloudy or even orange? That might be a sign your water heater is on its last legs. If the water appears orange or red, it indicates rust within the tank itself. If the water is cloudy and you notice a strange smell, it’s an indication of bacterial problems or a build-up of minerals. Mineral deposits can usually be cleaned, but if rust is forming in the tank, you’ll need to replace your water heater.

Strange Sounds from the Water Heater
Your water heater should make very little noise during operation if any at all. Banging, rumbling, or knocking sounds can be indications of sediment build-up at the bottom of the tank. That sediment reduces your water heater’s efficiency, forces it to work harder to heat water, and increases your utility bills. Flushing your tank annually can remove sediment, but if you notice strange noises shortly after a flush, you should replace the water heater.

If you notice water pooling around the tank or leaking from pipes running to the water heater, you’ll need to call a plumber immediately. Leaking pipes can be repaired and your hot water restored, but if the tank itself is leaking, you’ll need a replacement. Don’t assume that water around the bottom of the unit means the tank is leaking, though. It could be from a valve, pipe fitting, or other location that can be repaired.

If you’ve noticed any of these signs, it’s time to have a professional plumber inspect your water heater. In many cases, they can repair the issue, but a replacement may be necessary.


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