Reasons Why Water Heaters Fail and Break Down

October 9, 2017

There’s nothing quite as amazing as coming home to see that you can’t take a hot shower. Your dish washer won’t run a load of dishes and clean them. You can’t even take a bath! The reason is simple: your water heater has failed on you and you likely never saw it coming. As it turns out, almost nobody sees the symptoms that lead up to their water heater failing on them. Today we are going to take a closer look at why water heaters fail and what you need to notice to catch them before they go out.

What are symptoms of a failing water heater?

Did you know that the vast majority of water heater purchases are made when a home owner has theirs break down unexpectedly? It’s true! You’ll likely end up making one of those emergency purchases too unless you pay attention to the following symptoms.

1. Leaking – If you notice that there is moisture or even a small amount of water, around your water heater then you might have an actual fracture or leak. Metal expands when it heats up and this expansion can lead to stress fractures over time.

2. Rusty Water – If you ever get brownish, rusty water coming out of your faucet then you are likely running into a major issue. Rusty water doesn’t always mean a failing water heater, however. Run your faucet until you release about 5 gallons of water, if it begins to run clear then you have a pipe issue.

3. Noise – As water heaters get older you’ll find that sediment builds up toward the bottom of the tank. This leads to a banging and clanging sound that you’ll hear when your water heater first starts to heat up. This is a sign that your water heater is outliving its usefulness.

Why does a water heater break down?

Okay, we introduced you to a few symptoms that may mean your water heater is failing. Now let’s take a closer look at why your water heater might have broken down.

1. Internal Rust – Rust in your water heater can become a bigger problem than you’d expect if left untreated. There are sacrificial anodes within your water heater that help to prevent corrosion inside of your water heater. Over time these elements are consumed and if they are not replaced you’ll find rust begin to build up.

2. Sediment Buildup – We already mentioned sediment build up above, so we won’t go into it too much here. Basically, sediment builds up on the bottom of your water heater and if left alone will eventually destroy your utility. This is particularly problematic if you are dealing with hard water.

3. Age – Water heaters are only designed to last around 10 to 15 years. If you’ve surpassed this age then you are destined for a breakdown sooner than you think. Pay attention to the symptoms we listed above in order to keep ahead of the curve.

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