A failing water heater is a big problem and one that should not be ignored. If you simply put off bringing in a plumber, you might end up with more than just lukewarm water, you might have a flooded basement, or worse yet, a big explosion. So, here are four danger signs that you should be on the lookout for. If you notice any of these issues, don't hesitate to contact a plumber.
The Water Is Rusty
You should periodically empty out the hot water heater and flush it. This is done so that any sediment in the heater is flushed out. If you have not done this, and the anode rod was not replaced, then you might have an accumulation of rust in the tank. If you notice that the hot water is rusty, then you should head downstairs and check the tank. You can do this by draining out some of the water by opening the drain valve and letting it empty into a bucket. If, after the first few buckets, the water continues to come out rusty, then there is a good chance the inside of the tank is heavily corroded. You will need a plumber to come out and inspect it to determine to what extent the damage is done.
You Hear Banging From The Heater
If you hear banging coming from the tank, then it could be a problem with a build up of minerals. This is frequently caused by neglecting to replace the anode rod. The anode rod is made of magnesium, which attracts other minerals. If the rod is left to wither to nothing, then those minerals that don't make it to the rod will settle and harden at the bottom of the tank and bang around. This can eventually cause serious problems to the heater and require a full replacement
Lack Of Hot Water
This is an obvious sign, but one that can be a serious issue. It might be caused by an excess of minerals in the bottom of the tank (creating a lack of space for warm water) but it could also be caused by a bad valve. It's quite dangerous to try and work on a value on your water heater if you don't understand the system. You should always bring in a plumber. At best, you risk resetting the vales to the wrong setting, at worst you could cause an explosion.
Leaking Pressure Release Valve
Finally, the most serious issue is a leaking pressure release valve. If the valve is damaged, and it allows a bit of water to leak out, then it needs to be fixed. This valve is crucial for preventing an explosion, and you don't want to ignore it. Some people, when they see a leaking vale, are even tempted to put a cap over it. Don't do this! It is incredibly dangerous and might end up killing your entire family. Just contact a plumber, like one from Erickson Plumbing & Heating.