Understanding the Problem
“What’s wrong with my hot water heater?!” That’s a question that every plumber hears dozens of times throughout the year. Out of the many different segments of the plumbing system, a water heater creates some of the most frustrating and alarming problems for homeowners.
Today, we’re going to talk about the many signs your water heater will give you when it starts to break down. By the end, you should know how to respond in the event of an emergency. Let’s get started!
Understanding Water Heater Breakdowns
When it comes to water heater breakdowns, many homeowners won’t even realize there’s a problem until the unit shuts off completely. Others may experience a gradual reduction in functionality and efficiency, which will likely reveal itself in the monthly energy bill. Keep your eyes peeled for behavior that doesn’t seem normal for your appliance, and you’ll know when to call for water heater repair.
What is the Most Common Problem With Water Heaters?
The side effects (leaks) of degraded residential roofing are obvious, but not everyone knows what to look for when their water heater starts to fail. Now that we’ve talked about the causes of water heater damage, let’s talk about what they look like inside your home. Below, you’ll find some of the most common problems that homeowners will see when their appliance breaks down.
Most Common Water Heater Problems
- No hot water comes out of the heater.
- The pilot light goes out and won’t come back on.
- A hose or connecting pipe becomes detached and starts leaking water.
- Colored water comes out of your hot water appliances.
- The tank busts open and spills on the floor.
What Would Cause a Hot Water Heater to Stop Working?
While they may operate on different power sources, a gas water heater and an electric water heater will encounter many of the same problems. In general, breakdowns fall within a few general categories, including: connection failure, isolated part degradation, and poor systemic conditions. Let’s briefly explain each category.
Some of the most frequently observed problems are produced by a loose hose or an out of place pipe connection. This may occur in the gas supply line, which is extremely dangerous for your home and family. The less threatening (but still irritating) possibility is a loose connection between the water supply line and the water heater.
Occasionally, age and frequent use simply causes a part to fail. This is an inevitable problem that homeowners face as their plumbing system gets older. When it comes to water heater repair, part failure is particularly common in supply pipes and in the burners (or electric heating element).
Finally, poor conditions may also create problems for multiple parts of your water heater. When the anode rod completely rusts over, for instance, corrosion accelerates in other parts of the holding tank. Hard water content produces many of the same effects: damaged tank lining and degraded piping.
Calling for Help
Who to Call for Water Heater Repair
90 times out of 100, you’re going to need to call your plumber to arrange repairs. If your water heater broke down suddenly, you’ll also want to contact your homeowner’s insurance company and explain the situation to them. There’s a good chance your insurance won’t cover the water heater repair cost, but they should cover the water damages. If your appliance is still under warranty, you’ll obviously want to call the manufacturer or plumber that provided it.
In the unlikely case your water heater malfunction was caused by a loose gas pipe, you need to call your plumber and gas company ASAP. Natural gas is highly flammable, combustible, and toxic. You may even need to evacuate your family and pets in the event of a severe gas leak.
How Many Years Does a Hot Water Heater Last?
This is a question that our plumbers hear pretty often. “How often do you need to replace a hot water heater?” Tank water heaters tend to last the shortest time, ranging anywhere from 8 to 13 years. If you own a heat pump water appliance, it may last up to 15.
Finally, you can expect a tankless model to last 20 years or more, regardless of the fuel type. Many plumbers say it’s easier to install water heater repair parts in tankless models, which is one reason why they last considerably longer.
Water Heater Repair vs Replace
The internal debate between water heater repair and early replacement is a true struggle for many homeowners. Simplify your decision process by weighing the cost of the repairs against the potential benefits. If a tank water heater already has 10 years off its estimated lifespan, squeezing out two or three more years of use isn’t worth paying thousands of dollars. However, if you can get 5 year or more from a relatively cheap water heater repair job, go for it!
Professional Water Heater Repair
Do you have serious concerns about your home’s water heater? Our team at Absolute Precision Plumbing and Heating would love to help you with timely, cost-effective repair service. Schedule your water heater repair in Saddle Brook, NJ by calling our friendly staff at 551-257-6200!