Hot morning showers are one of the greatest conveniences of living in the 21st century. You don’t even have to open your eyes. After rolling out of bed and stumbling into the bathroom, you just turn on the faucet, peel off your PJs, and step into the lovely, hot shower. Your water heater is a marvel of modern manufacturing, but its lifetime is limited. But what happens if you experience water heater failure?

Everything wears out eventually, and your water heater is no exception. As a general rule, a traditional tank-type water heater should last from 8 to 12 years. An on-demand tankless water heater can last up to 20 years as it does not have to maintain a constant supply of hot water.

Recognizing the signs that water heater failure is threatening will allow you to replace this vital appliance before you wake up to a cold shower.

5 Signs of Water Heater Failure

Age – Knowing how old your water heater is helpful when it comes to predicting a water heater failure. Your water heater’s serial number can provide this information. A typical serial number begins with a letter that signifies the month in which the appliance was manufactured. A = January, B = February, and so on. The two numbers which follow the letter indicate the year it was made. For example, C12 would mean that the water heater was manufactured in March of 2012. Once your current water heater is 6 or more years old, staying aware of these other warning signs will allow you to replace it promptly.

Discolored Water – Rusty water coming from your hot water spigot is a sign that the insides of your water heater could be rusting. Cloudy (or smelly) water can be an indicator of mineral sediment in the bottom of your tank. Mineral sediment or sludge is more common in households with hard water. Sadly, sediment can clog the drain valve, slow down the heating of your water, and cause the bottom of the tank to overheat. Overheating weakens and damages your water heater tank.

Noise – Another sign of mineral sediment is a noisy water heater. If you’re hearing rumbling, popping, or banging noises as your appliance heats up, this is an indicator of sludge in the bottom of your tank. As they are repeatedly heated and cooled, the minerals will harden reducing the efficiency of your appliance.

Leaking – If there’s any visible rust or corrosion on your water heater tank, it will eventually begin to leak. Be aware, however, that the container can rust from the inside out. Even small leaks are a sign that your water heater is failing. If you don’t replace it, sooner or later, you will discover a vast puddle and possibly the rusted-out tank bottom on your utility room floor!

Insufficient Hot Water – Always check the burner first if you have inadequate hot water. If you see a yellow or orange flame rather than a blue one, this is a sign that the burner is not working properly and may need to be serviced. Apparently, when your hot water is cold, it’s a sign that something is wrong.

Being aware of these indicators of imminent water heater failure will allow you to replace your appliance before it becomes an emergency. When it comes time to do this, Kellermeier Plumbing offers water heater sales and installation and recommends updating to an ENERGY STAR® water heater to save money. If you are in the market for a new water heater or simply need water heater repair, please call us today at 616.866.5134.