Water heaters are one of those home appliances that many homeowners do not pay attention to. Mostly because it’s not that often that something goes wrong with them.

So, what signs should you be looking out for to let you know that something is starting to break down in your water heater?

6 Signs Your Water Heater Is In Trouble

  1. The water coming from your water heater is discolored.
  2. You notice a foul smell when you run hot water from your faucets.
  3. You aren’t getting as much hot water as you used to.
  4. Your water heater is more than 10 years old.
  5. Your water heater is leaking.
  6. Your water heater is suddently making sounds.

If you notice any of these signs we recommend you contact a professional plumber right away.

Let’s go over each of these signs with some more detail.

1. Discolored Water

The evidence of discolored or gritty water is usually due to rust.

The majority of hot water heaters are constructed of steel. And, as you may or may not know, steel is mostly iron which tends to rust. Water heaters have a built in safeguard called an anode rod. The rod is screwed into the top of your water heater and protects your water heater from rusting.

Typically, an anode rod lasts about 4 to 5 years. Of course this depends on how much water is being processed through your water heater.

But, like any product, it will wear down or fail.

Just as a side note, if you notice that your hot water has turned a rusty brown color, it may be a sign that your anode rod needs to be replaced.

2. Foul Smell

If you notice a smell similar to “rotten eggs” coming out of your water faucets – this could be an indication that there is sulfate bacteria in your water heater tank.

If it’s determined that the tank is the problem – then it’s time to get a replacement.

3. Less Hot Water

There are 4 possible reasons that your water heater is not able to supply you with as much hot water as it used to.

  1. The water heater unit is too small to accomodate the amount of hot water being requested in the household.
  2. There’s too much sediment buildup in the unit.
  3. The thermostat on the unit has stopped working or is faulty.
  4. Your unit has reached it’s maximum life capacity.

4. Old Water Heater

Typically, a hot water heater will last 8 to 12 years. If you properly maintain it – you may actually be able to double that. But at some point, it will begin to fail due to age (just like everything else) and it may begin to leak and require replacement.

5. Leaking

If you notice that the leak from your water heater is from the bottom of the heater, the most likely culprit is the drain valve.

If you notice that the hot water heater is leaking from the top then the problem may be:

  1. A loose or leaky pipe
  2. A corroded anode rod
  3. A problem with the cold water inlet valve
  4. Or a problem with the tank itself
  5. High pitch whistling
  6. Popping
  7. Sizzling
  8. Crackling