Many people don’t think about hot water heater maintenance until that first cold shower or unexpected flood near the tank. Water heaters are prone to wear and tear from daily use, so it’s a good idea to inspect them regularly. That way you can make decisions about repair or replacement before a costly or messy breakdown.
Inspecting Your Hot Water Heater
A basic water heater inspection is a great addition to your seasonal home maintenance schedule. At least once a year, you should:
Check for Leaks
Of course a major leak will be easy to spot, but it’s worth taking a closer look. Check all connections, pipes, and valves for moisture as part of your basic hot water heater maintenance checks.
If the hot water unit has a storage tank, use a torch to examine it from top to bottom, including the areas behind it. In addition to looking for leaks, keep an eye out for signs of mould or mineral deposits from earlier leaks that have dried. Any visible rust is also a sign of trouble, since it can spread quickly and cause the unit to fail.
It’s rarer for tankless hot water heaters to leak, since they don’t store water, but it can happen. Check for moisture around the pipes and joints. Just a few droplets might not seem like a big deal, but they may be a sign the unit needs urgent maintenance. Over time, slow leaks can also lead to mould or water damage, which can be costly to repair.
It’s important to call in a professional for gas water heater maintenance every two years for your safety. Note that when you inspect the unit, you should not be able to smell gas. If you do, shut off the gas, get out of the house, and contact Pipe Dream Plumbing & Drainage immediately.
Listen for Unusual Sounds
Water heaters normally make noise as they heat and supply water to your home. It’s a good idea to listen while the unit is working well to get a sense of what is normal, from the clicks and taps to the occasional pop and clank.
Any changes in the types of noises the unit makes could indicate a serious problem. If you hear loud banging noises, high-pitched whining, or other problematic sounds, call in the pros to give it a listen.
Other Signs Your Water Heater is Failing
Some other common signs that your water heater needs repair or replacement include:
Lack of Hot Water
This is one of the main reasons people call for hot water heater repair service. If the water isn’t getting as hot as it usually does or the hot water is running out, it could be due to a faulty tempering valve, defective gas control or thermocouple, a blocked pilot burner or something more serious.
Smelly or Dirty Water
Smelly or discoloured water coming from your taps is always a concern and a good reason for a service call. If it happens specifically with the hot water, it may be an issue with your water heater.
Reduced Water Pressure
If you’ve noticed low water pressure, especially at hot temperatures, your water heater might be the problem. It may be struggling to heat enough water to meet demand.
When to Replace Your Water Heater
As water heater service costs begin to add up, you’ll certainly wonder if it’s better to repair or replace your hot water system. Like any appliance, water heaters eventually wear out. Regular hot water system maintenance will keep them running longer, but their lifespan is typically about ten years.
It is often more cost effective to replace than repair, especially if your unit is nearing the end of its lifespan, which is about ten years. The cost of the parts compared to the value of the unit is an important consideration. Newer water heaters are also more energy efficient, so though you’ll spend some money up front, you’ll pay less to heat the same amount of water each month.
Need Hot Water Heater Maintenance or Replacement?
If you find leaking, rust, or other worrisome issues during your hot water heater maintenance checks, call us! If the unit is reaching the ten year mark, it’s also a good idea to schedule an inspection so that we can check the health of your system and discuss the best options for you.
At Pipe Dream Plumbing & Drainage, we’ll always give you an honest assessment and quote options that are tailored to your situation. We’ll recommend the best water heater for your needs, with cost and energy efficiency in mind. We install hot water systems for continuous solar, gas, electric, and flow, including the highest quality units from Rinnai, Vulcan, Dux, Thurman, Rheem, Aquamax and more with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Call today for a free quote!