Without a water heater, you’d be forced to take cold showers or heat water on the stove, the old-fashioned way. So, a water heater is the last thing you want to stop working. There are a variety of water heaters available, from tankless water heaters to traditional drum water heaters. Whatever type you have, there are 7 things your water heater should never do.
First, let’s look at how water heaters work. Most people have a drum-type heater which is a large metal cylinder. The heating mechanism can be electric or gas. The tank is filled with water then heated from below or behind.
A Look Inside Your Water Heater
Here’s a brief look at your water heater’s parts and how they work.
- Tank – The tank has a protective liner on the inside and then an insulating foam liner. The part you see is the outer metal shell. A water heater tank can hold 40 to 60 gallons of water at 50 to 100 PSI (per square inch) pressure.
- Dip tube – This is where the water enters the heater and then travels to the tank bottom where it’s then heated.
- Shut-off valve – For safety and water heater repair, each unit has a shut-off valve. The shut-off valve stops water flow into the water heater.
- Heat-out pipe -This is how the hot water leaves the heater.
- Thermostat – This regulates the temperature of your water, getting it hot but not too hot.
- Heating mechanism – Electric water heaters have heating elements inside the tank to heat the water. Gas water heaters use a burner and chimney system instead.
- Drain valve – If you ever need to replace the elements within the tank or move the tank, your water heater has a drain valve.
- Pressure relief valve – This is a safety feature that keeps the water from reaching an unsafe pressure.
- Sacrificial anode rod – This is a magnesium or aluminum core rod that helps prevent corrosion inside the tank.
Why Is It Important To Know How My Water Heater Works?
All these parts work together to bring you relaxing, hot showers and steamy baths. Water heaters are simple in design. They rely on a fundamental physics principle, that heat rises. The cold water feeds into the bottom of the tank from the dip tube. Then, the electric heating element or a gas burner and chimney heat the water. As it warms up, it rises to the top, where it is forced out of the heat-out pipe then into your plumbing. Your heating mechanism stays on until it reaches the temperature set on your thermostat. Among other things, the Houston code requires that all water heaters have an automatic thermostat. Easy, peasy, right? In theory, yes. But, if one of these parts starts to fail, your entire unit may not work correctly.
7 Clear Signs Your Water Heater Needs Immediate Repair
Most of us only pay attention to our water heaters when they go out. We don’t think about them until we hop in the shower one day and are met with freezing cold water. But, there are 7 things that you can look out for with your water heater.
You run a bath one evening and notice that the water is cloudy and slightly brown. If this happens to you, it’s most likely because your water heater is failing. Occasionally, there may be an issue with the water main but if you aren’t aware of any problems or breaks in your water supply, call us to look at your water heater. If you notice dirty, smelly water coming up from the tub drain, then that’s a separate plumbing issue, but you should still contact us for help.
If you turn on the tap and the water coming out smells foul, then your water heater may be having trouble doing its job. There is most likely an issue in the tank. Avoid bathing, drinking, or washing with the water, and call us ASAP.
Foul Tasting Water
If your tap water tastes bad, then it may be an issue with your water heater. Double-check that you changed the filter in your fridge recently. If it’s up to date, you need to call us to figure out what’s going on.
Sometimes water heaters make noises when they’re in distress. You shouldn’t be able to hear your water heater making noise while it’s doing its job. If you do, it’s not working right. One sound you may hear with a faulty water heater is popping. This usually indicates you have a build-up of minerals in your tank. If left unchecked, it will only get worse.
Rumbling is another sound that lets you know you have a sediment problem. This is why water heater maintenance is a must. Have professionals regularly flush your water heater. Maintenance like flushing stops severe issues before they develop.
Hissing And Rattling
If you hear a hissing or sizzling noise, then you most likely have a leaky water heater. The hissing noise is caused by hot water leaking out of the tank and hitting your floor or walls. Call us right away if you ever notice these types of noises.
Ticking Like A Clock
If you walk by your water heater and hear ticking, your heater might be having trouble efficiently heating water. It could be due to a couple of different reasons, but you should call us to get it checked out before it gets any worse.
Knowing When to Call A Professional to Fix Your Water Heater
If you hear or see any of the above issues, you should call us. Regular water heater maintenance can save you from a catastrophic leak that ruins your flooring. Routine maintenance also helps stop any problems before they evolve into costly repairs. Contact us to schedule your water heater checkup today.