Why Water Heaters Break Down

water heater breaks down

One of the simple joys of life is a nice warm shower to get the day started. It’s easy to forget this until one morning your water heater unfortunately breaks. Here are a few signs to be on the lookout for before there’s no hot water.

Not Flushing Out the Water Heater

As sediment and minerals build up, your water heater has to be flushed out. (this includes tankless water heaters) Many manufacturers recommend an annual flushing of your water heater. As sediment stockpiles to the bottom of the heater, it also requires more energy to heat. In addition to higher utility bills with less energy efficiency, there’s a myriad of other potential problems:

  • sediment coming out of your faucets
  • loss of water pressure
  • broken pipes
  • non-functioning heater

Hire an experienced team to complete the flushing to avoid heater damage.

Anode Rod Needs Replacing

A properly working anode rod keeps your water heater clean of sediment and minerals. Water softners can cause rods to deteriorate. 6 inches or more of exposed steel core wire is a sure sign of needing a new anode rod.

For aluminum anode rods you may see parts of the rod break off into tiny bits into the water heater. If it’s a non-electrical anode rod and still looks brand new, it’s more likely not doing the job to keep your heater clean. You may need to get a new rod or install an electrical one. During a comprehensive annual water heater service inspection, professionals check the rod and if necessary, replace it.

Average Lifespan of Water Heaters

Age can also be a major factor in your water heater functioning. Water heaters generally last eight to twelve years. Review the receipt to verify the age. Keep in mind though a larger household is more likely to use more hot water and in turn have a shorter heater life span. Signs that new water heater installation is necessary include:

  • puddling around the water heater due to water leaking
  • rusty colored or metallic smelling water
  • repeated repairs being needed
  • less warm or heatless water

Tips to Get the Most From Your Water Heater

Many heaters set to 140 degrees by default. Decreasing the temperature by 10 to 20 degrees requires less energy to maintain and lower stress to the equipment. You can also put the water heater’s thermostat off or turn it down to its lowest setting when taking off on summer vacations. For water heaters including a pilot light, you’ll need to be able to relight it if you choose to shut it off.

Insulating the water heater also helps with energy efficiency and utility costs. You may also consider insulating the pipes. If pipes go through unheated crawl areas and the garage.

Annual inspections of your water heater can help prevent unexpected break downs and ensure your water heater is running efficiently as possible. For water heater services in the San Antonio area including installation and repair, contact us today.

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