Updated: Feb 13, 2019
Oh Good, You’re Finally Going to Replace That Old Water Heater.
This is a follow-up to The Plumbers Without Cracks series “This Old Water Heater,” where plumbing experts, Brandon and Greg Sheck, provided tips on how to extend the life and efficiency of your older water heater. Sometimes it’s just not meant to be. In this installment, they answer the question: Is it dead, yet?
Banging and bumping sounds from your pipes suggest pipes are being subjected to stress they aren’t designed to take. This could lead to leaks in the near future and you should call your plumber right away. – It’s not dead!
Banging sounds from inside your water heater are likely large mineral deposits breaking off and falling to the bottom of the tank. This means your water is too hard and you are wasting money on inefficiency. – It’s not dead!
Bubbling and gurgling however. If you hear these sounds, shut down your water heater immediately. Call a plumber and get out of the room. Bubbling and gurgling suggest the water inside your heater is boiling. Instead of being an innocent heater, it’s now a pressure cooker ready to explode. Get rid of it. – It’s dead!
“It’s Just a Little Leak”
“Even a little bit of water coming out of the heater is not normal,” says Greg Sheck, a master plumber who knows what he’s talking about. So, if you have been telling yourself that the little water, that has become progressively more water even though you are not willing to see it, is just due to your house “settling”, it’s time to admit you have a problem. Good news is, it’s not necessarily terminal. “You might just have a leaking temperature-pressure valve,” says Sheck. If you get it fixed right away – It’s not dead!
However, if you have hard water, or an ancient water heater, a leak may be a gator-roll-sign that the tank inside your water heater has rotted out and is getting ready to fail. When it fails, the 80 or so gallons of sediment rich water is going to come out, all at once, all over your floor. – It’s dead!
“If your water stinks, it’s likely your water heater is to blame,” says Sheck. The internal parts that do the heating in the tank can corrode because they spend their lives in a hot water chemical bath. The by-products of the corrosion mix with your water and cause a horrible smell. If this happens, you need to call a plumber immediately. The chemical breakdown of your water heater’s components is happening too fast, and your water may pose a health risk. – It’s dead!
The final part of “Oh Good, You’re Finally Going to Replace That Old Water Heater,” addresses moving on from the old hunk of junk and buying a replacement. Stay tuned.