3 Signs the Water Heater Is Close To Failure
As winter approaches and the weather in south-central Texas turns from pleasantly brisk to chillingly cold, the importance of a working water heater is not lost on San Antonio homeowners. Sure, cold showers may be a popular and refreshing health hack, but most people probably don't want that to be their only option - especially in the colder months. Unfortunately, that's when most water heater breakdowns tend to occur.
But the good news is that water heaters seldom fail without warning - the trick is to spot the signs before it's too late and the home is left without hot water. So this article will share a few of the most common signs that a hot water heater is going out!
Problems with Water Temperature
Water temperature issues are among the most obvious signs of water heater trouble. Such issues include temperature fluctuations, running out of hot water, or lacking hot water. Sometimes, the problem may be a faulty thermostat or broken heating element. The cost of replacing these parts varies, but if the unit is very old, it may be more cost-effective to replace the entire unit.
Another possibility is that the water heater is undersized or outdated and can't keep up with the household's hot water demands. This is surprisingly common in growing families or older homes with aging water heaters. If this is the case, the solution may be to upgrade to a larger hot water tank unit or install a tankless water heater that rapidly heats water on demand.
The Unit Is Leaking
Another common sign of a failing water heater is evidence of leaks on or around the unit. A water heater leak often results from smaller issues, such as a loose connection, damaged/corroded pipe, or faulty valve (the temperature & pressure relief valve is a common culprit). Fortunately, these are relatively quick and easy fixes for a professional plumber.
But if the water heater's storage tank is leaking, that's a different story. This can occur if the tank has become cracked or corroded due to inadequate maintenance - failing to regularly flush sediment buildup or replace the anode rod (a corrosion prevention device inside the tank) are the two most common causes of such leaks. A leaking hot water tank generally cannot be repaired, so homeowners will likely have to replace the entire unit.
Old Age/Wear and Tear
In addition to the specific issues described above, it may also be time for a water heater replacement if the unit is very old or in constant need of repairs. Traditional water heaters have a life expectancy of about 10-15 years or 15-20 for tankless water heaters (depending on how well they've been maintained).
If the water heater is over 10 years old (or 15 for tankless) but gets annual professional service visits and is still functioning normally, there's probably nothing to worry about. But if it's getting into that age range and frequently requires repairs, it will probably make more financial sense to replace it rather than shelling out for repairs and parts every year - not to mention that such a unit is more likely to break down completely.
If homeowners notice any of these signs, they would do well to contact their plumber to diagnose the issue rather than trying to repair it themselves. Professional water heater technicians can pinpoint the exact cause and make expert recommendations on whether to repair or replace the unit. They can also work with the homeowners to determine what type and size of water heater to choose based on the household's specific needs - if it comes to that!
About A&A Plumbing
Since opening its doors in 2007, A&A Plumbing has quickly become one of San Antonio's most trusted and highly-rated plumbers. As a family-owned business focused on personal attention, unbeatable workmanship, and stellar customer service, they have been honored with ServiceTitan's "Titan of the Year" finalist award and a 5-star rating on Home Advisor. They offer competitive up-front pricing, financing, and a money-saving membership program, so don't hesitate to call A&A today for water heater repair in San Antonio, TX!