Warning Signs Of An Upcoming Water Heater Repair

Water heater repair and maintenance is frequently neglected until it’s too late and the heater breaks down. If this happens when you’re in the shower or your family members need hot water immediately, it can be an extremely annoying inconvenience.

Water heaters are typically located in out-of-the-way areas such as a corner of the garage or a small closet in the hallway. Because of their durability and location, we tend to overlook the upkeep of this household appliance. The best way to avoid unexpected water heater repair or replacement is to inspect it periodically for these warning signs.

Your Water Heater’s Age

Look for the manufacturer’s sticker toward the top of your heater. This contains useful information about the serial number and the manufacture date. Most manufacturers recommend you replace your water heater every eight to twelve years, depending on the location and type of water heater you have. The size of your family and rate at which the hot water is used will also factor into the heater’s lifespan. If your heater is in this age range, consider having a professional inspect it, especially before the colder months arrive.

Water Is Warm, Not Hot

For an electric heater, this could be a sign that the heating element is burning out. For a gas heater, check to make sure the pilot light is lit, the gas is connected, and the thermocouple is functioning properly. On both types of heaters, make sure the thermostat is set between 120 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If your water is not reaching this temperature range, it could be cause for concern.

Rusty or Metallic Water

If your hot water has a rusty color, it could be a sign that the heater has begun to rust on the inside or that your pipes are rusting. Drain a few five-gallon buckets of water from the heater. If the water does not run clear by the third bucket, it’s a sign that the rust is inside the heater.

If your water has a metallic smell or taste, it could mean sediment or metal flakes are mixing with the water. Use the same test from above to determine whether the problem is inside your heater or within your hot water pipes.

Rumbling or Sizzling

Over time, sediment will build up and settle at the bottom of your heater’s tank. This sediment hardens as the water is heated and reheated and will cause the rumbling, banging, and sizzling sounds you hear. The hardened sediment also means your heater will require more energy and time to heat the water. This can cause the metal to become brittle, crack, or develop tiny holes that lead to leaks.


Leaks can be caused by holes or cracks in your water tank or by weakened pipes or fittings. Check the pipes and tighten the fittings if necessary. If these are dry and you find water is still collecting around the tank, it’s time to call for water heater repairs.

Call Capital Care For Your Water Heater Repair

If you observe any of these warning signs or if you find yourself constantly making small repairs, something bigger may be going on. Contact Capital Care Plumbing anytime, 24 hours a day, to discuss your plumbing needs or for emergency water heater repair.