Replacing a water heater in Atlanta? Watch out for these warning signs.
Are you overdue for replacing a water heater in Atlanta? Homeowners rely on hot water for so many purposes. Think about how much water you use each day. Now imagine if you only got cold water out of the tap. There’s nothing worse than waking up to an icy shower. The cold cycle on your washing machine doesn’t get your clothes as clean as when using the warm cycle. Hot water also kills more germs when you wash your hands.
If your water heater goes out unexpectedly, you may be in for a rude awakening. Besides the misery of soaking in a glacial bubble bath, a leak in the tank could flood an entire room in your home. Luckily, most water heaters provide plenty of warning signs before they completely stop working. If you know what to look for, you can buy a replacement well before you experience any serious problems. Here are the six things you should be on the lookout for:
#1: Only Frigid Water Comes Out of the Faucet
When you turn on the hot water tap, you expect steaming hot water to pour out. But, if your water heater is on the fritz, you may only get cold water, no matter how long you wait. A lack of hot water is perhaps the most glaringly obvious sign that something isn’t right with your water heater. It’s also the number one reason homeowners call a plumber for water heater help.
Traditional water heaters store between 40-60 gallons of hot water. It stays hot thanks to either an electric or gas heating element. When you open the faucet, the hot water travels through a series of pipes until it reaches the destination. The further away the tap is from the water heater, the longer it may take for you to get hot water. However, under normal circumstances, the entire trip should only take a few seconds.
It’s not uncommon for the heating element to go out. Like anything else, this component wears out over time. Before you shell out cash for a total replacement, it’s worth having the system inspected by a plumber. In some instances, a simple repair may resolve the situation.
#2: The Water Heater Sounds Like a Percussion Section
Under normal circumstances, water heaters are very quiet. You may only hear it on occasion as the heating element clicks on to rewarm the tank. If you start hearing rhythmic banging and knocking, a call to your local plumber is in order. No, your water heater isn’t auditioning for a percussion opening with the New York Philharmonic. Instead, it’s trying to let you know that something is seriously wrong inside the tank.
So, what is causing all that banging? Over time, a thick layer of sediment and debris builds up at the bottom of the tank. If this sludge breaks apart or clogs a pipe, your heater will work harder than usual. You should hire a plumber to inspect any audible noise. In many cases, a simple repair will resolve the problem. But, if you wait too long to seek professional help, you may need to replace your water heater instead.
#3: That Drip, Drip, Drip Isn’t Normal
Your water heater has only one job—to produce, store, and release hot water. That’s it. Your water heater should never, under any circumstances, leak. If you stand next to the appliance, you shouldn’t hear water dripping. Nor should you find wet areas around the base of the unit. These are signs of a severe problem. It doesn’t take long for a small water leak to turn into a huge hole that floods the room. If your home floods, you then have to worry about property loss, mold, and your insurance company.
As soon as you notice—or even suspect—a leak, you need to get in touch with a plumber. Time is ticking, and disaster could strike at any time. You may find the leak around a valve or in the tank itself. While there is always a chance that a plumber could repair your water heater, the odds are good that you’ll need a full replacement. And, if your heater is an older model, replacing the unit will probably cost you less in the long run.
#4: The Water Looks Like a Science Experiment
Unless you’re a mad scientist, chances are good you don’t test out chemical reactions in your bathroom. However, if your water heater begins to act up, you may notice some strange changes in your water supply. First, your water should be clear. Cloudy water is a tell-tale sign of sediment and sludge buildup in the water heater. Orange or rust-colored water also isn’t normal. While it may not have any devastating effects on your body, the water could slowly destroy the inside of your water heater.
The same theory holds true for the smell of your hot water. When you turn on the faucet, what do you typically smell? If the answer is anything other than “nothing at all,” then it’s time to have your water heater inspected. Water should be scent-free. Metallic or sulfur aromas may indicate an issue with either your water heater or your sewer line. Only a plumber can tell you for sure. Before you order a new water heater, you need to make sure it’s the source of your problem.
#5: You Have a Higher Water Bill
Be sure to pay attention to your utility bills each month. If you notice an increase in your water usage, it may be the first sign of a bigger problem. A sudden change in your water bill may point to a leak somewhere in your plumbing system. Noticeable abnormalities in your water bill usually mean a significant leak in the foundation. But, a subtle change may suggest a smaller, harder-to-find leak.
While water leaks can pop up anywhere, sometimes a failing water heater is to blame. As stated before, you should contact a plumber to find the source. If you need a new water heater, it’s best to replace it before your water bill skyrockets.
#6: Ten Is the Magic Number
How old is your water heater? If you don’t know the age, you can often figure it out by yourself. If you purchased the system, you could look at the original receipt to find the installation date. You can also locate the serial number on the outside of the tank. Manufacturers often put the year of production at the beginning or end of the serial number. If all else fails, you can always ask a plumber to decode it for you.
The age of your system will determine if a plumber should repair or replace it. On average, most water heaters begin to show their age after ten years. Some start to fail before then. Several things can cause your water heater to die prematurely. For example, if you have hard water, mineral deposits may clog the tank. While many things age gracefully, water heaters aren’t one of them. Once you have an old water heater, it’s always more cost-efficient to replace it.
Trust Your Water Heater Woes with a Skilled Plumber
When the water heater acts up, it’s not always best to DIY the situation. Without the right tools and training, you may find yourself with a bigger problem on your hands. Instead of finding yourself caught off-guard, you need to know who you can trust to get your hot water flowing again.
With over 40 years of experience, you can count on Morningside Plumbing to rescue you from any water heater situation. Our plumbers have the training and hands-on experience needed to tackle any job, no matter how simple or complex it may be. With our 24/7 emergency response, there’s no reason for you to take another cold shower. If you notice any of these warning signs affecting your plumbing system, click or call 404-873-1881 for dependable water heater replacement in Atlanta.