The average traditional water heater has a life expectancy of around a decade. And if you are taking really good care of it, including annual draining and flushing, you might be able to get 15 years of reliable service. But for those who have not seen their water heater since the day they bought the house, consider ten years to be a fortuitous gift. And heed the warning when your water heater is trying to tell you that it is not long for this world.
Silence Is Golden
If your water heater is not making any odd noises at ten years old, you could have a few good years left. But as soon as it begins to sound like popcorn in the microwave or it begins to make odd clanking sounds, it’s time to start shopping. The cause of the popping raucous is often a result of mineral build-up. If the tank is not drained regularly and flushed thoroughly, the mineral sediment will flash heat and turn to steam. The sound does not mean that the tank will explode or that the valve is about to blow. But it does mean that the heating element is being overworked. And the minerals are likely eating away the inside of the holding tank wall.
If you see tiny puddles around your water heater like a puppy had an accident, it is time to consider calling a plumber for a water heater repair or replacement. The best case is that the relief valve is leaking and needs to be replaced. It is also possible that the drain valve at the base of the tank has begun to drip. That is also a simple and affordable repair from your favorite plumber. But the worst case is that the minerals in your water have finally compromised the integrity of your water heater holding tank. Once the tank is leaking, there is no safe solution other than replacing the entire water heater.
Cloudy Hot Water
Cloudy hot water or hot water with a metallic taste indicates mineral build-up inside the holding tank. If there is no metallic taste or odor, then the issue could also be bacterial contamination in the tank. It is best to correct these issues by draining and flushing the holding tank to eliminate the mineral sediment or bacteria causing the cloudiness. If this does not solve the problem, a professional tank cleaning is the only option other than a replacement.
Specks In Hot Water
If you are noticing flecks in your hot water, there is contamination present. In most cases, the specks are tiny bits of metal from either the inside of the water heater holding tank or your water lines. The first step to eliminating the contaminant is draining and flushing the tank. If that does not solve the issue, you will need the help of a licensed plumber to inspect the water lines in your home for rust, corrosion, and deterioration.
All of these odd occurrences are more than just freak issues. They are common signs from your water heater or the water lines in your home that there is an issue. When you take action at the first sign of any of these irregularities, there is a better opportunity for a cost-effective solution. At the first odd noise or a puddle near your water heater, call (208) 571-4089. The licensed professionals at Viking Plumbing will arrive quickly to determine what is ailing your water heater and if it can be repaired or needs to be replaced.