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Six Signs You May Have a Broken Water Heater

Your water heater is brokenA broken hot water heater is always annoying, especially when it breaks at the most unexpected moment, when you are eager to take a relaxing and hot shower but get icy water instead. Do not wait until such a day – make sure you maintain your water heater in proper working condition at all times. If you examine your unit on a consistent basis, you will be able to distinguish signs indicating that your hot water heater is unfortunately broken or malfunctioning. Your present initiative in preventing certain issues with your water heater will exclude inconvenience or unexpected damage lest your water heater unit suddenly go out.

What are the signs that your water heater is broken?

Sign #1 – Corrosion

Corrosion and moisture around the pipe fittings attached to your residential or commercial water heater indicate that water is leaking through supposedly sealed pipe fittings. This happens because mineral deposits from the water are penetrating the gaps in those pipe connections. It is usually a “slow leak,” which means your water heater might be able to hold out for a while, but it could definitely break after some time if the problem isn’t dealt with.

Sign #2 – Faulty Venting

If you noticed burn marks on your water heater, it could mean that faulty water heater venting is causing back drafting. This is a pretty serious condition that calls for urgent action and repairs because this means that natural gas and exhaust fumes aren’t exiting your home or business facility as they should. Instead, those toxic fumes are seeping inside, which is not good.

Sign # 3 – Yellow Flame Color

Yellow flame color

During your water heater operation a nice, blue-colored flame underneath the tank indicates that your water is heating. If that pilot light flame becomes yellow or orange instead of blue, this is a sure sign that the burner isn’t working properly and the unit requires inspection and possible repairs. However, this is an issue for standard atmospheric water heaters only.

Sign # 4 – Popcorn Crackling Sound

When you water heater starts sounding like a popcorn machine, that is the most obvious auditory sign that not much time is left for your water heater service. This popping sound results from an accumulation of honeycombed mineral deposit, caused by hard water. Water trapped in that honeycomb becomes extremely hot because the sediment layer is formed directly above the heating element, so it flashes off into steam. That flash-boiled water is causing those crackling noises.

Sign # 5 – Puddle of Water around Your Unit

When you try to adjust the heat settings on the tank, you step into the puddle of water on the floor.  Call a reliable plumber ASAP! This is a tank leak, and it’s definitely time to buy a new water heater.

Sign # 6 – Lukewarm water

You never seem to get hot water from your water heater, no matter what you do. If you only get lukewarm water even after you adjust the temperature on the tank, it’s a heating element issue.

Tip: Cost and frequency of repairs indicate the need for your water heater replacement

If your water heater breaks frequently, perform a simple cost-benefit analysis to see what would be a smarter choice – repairing or replacing. Use the 50% rule – if any repair costs 50% of what it would cost to replace, then you should replace your water heater instead of fixing it.

However, even if your present repairs do not add up to 50% of a new water heater, keep in mind the frequency of repairs and the age of your water heater.

If your water heater has failed frequently over the past couple of years or it is approaching the end of its expected lifespan, consult Pomona Valley Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning – a full-scale plumbing and heating contractor – and our experts will help you make a reasonable decision concerning your water heater repair/replacement.

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