Your water heater plays a crucial role in providing hot water for various household activities, and it's important to ensure that it functions optimally. However, like any other appliance, water heaters can experience issues and eventually fail. Consequently, recognizing the signs of water heater failure is essential to avoid sudden breakdowns, water damage, and inconvenience. In this blog post, we will explore both the common and uncanny signs of water heater failure, along with tips on how to troubleshoot these issues. We will also discuss home remedies that can help extend the lifespan of your water heater and the importance of professional water heater services.

Common Signs Of Water Heater Failure

Water heaters are essential appliances that provide us with hot water for various daily tasks, such as bathing, cleaning, and cooking. However, like any other mechanical system, water heaters can experience issues and eventually fail over time. Therefore, recognizing the signs of water heater failure is crucial for timely repairs or replacement to avoid inconvenience and potential damage. If you see these kinds of signs in your water heater, be sure to look for a reliable emergency plumbing service near you.

  1. Insufficient hot water: If you notice a significant decrease in the amount of hot water available or if the hot water runs out quickly, it could indicate a problem with your water heater. Sediment buildup, a faulty heating element, or a malfunctioning thermostat are common culprits.
  2. Fluctuating water temperatures: Inconsistent water temperatures, where the water goes from hot to cold or vice versa during use, can be a sign of a failing water heater. It may indicate a faulty thermostat, heating element, or an issue with the gas supply or electrical connections.
  3. Strange noises: Unusual sounds coming from your water heater, such as banging, popping, or rumbling noises, can be a sign of sediment accumulation at the bottom of the tank. This buildup can cause overheating and reduce the efficiency of your water heater.
  4. Leaks or pooling water: Any signs of water leakage around the water heater should not be ignored. Leaks can indicate a damaged tank, loose connections, or a faulty pressure relief valve. Pooling water around the water heater can lead to water damage and should be addressed immediately.

Uncanny Signs Of Water Heater Failure

Water Heater Failure

Not all signs of water heater failure can easily be noticed early on. Here are more uncommon signs that there is something wrong with your water heater.

  1. Rusty or discolored water: If the hot water coming out of your faucets appears rusty or discolored, it may indicate corrosion inside the water heater tank. Corrosion can lead to leaks and eventually cause the water heater to fail.
  2. Foul odors: Foul-smelling hot water, often described as a rotten egg or sulfur-like odor, is a sign of bacteria growth inside the water heater tank. This can happen when the anode rod deteriorates or when there is a buildup of sediment.
  3. High energy bills: A sudden increase in your energy bills without any other noticeable changes in your household usage can be a sign of a water heater problem. A malfunctioning water heater may be working harder and consuming more energy to heat water effectively.

How To Beat The Signs Of Water Heater Failure

There are some preventive measures you can take in order to prevent water heater failure even before signs start showing. Here are some tips: 

  1. Regular maintenance: Schedule annual maintenance for your water heater, including flushing the tank to remove sediment, checking and replacing the anode rod if necessary, and inspecting for any leaks or signs of wear.
  2. Temperature and pressure relief valve (TPR valve) check: Ensure that the TPR valve on your water heater is functioning correctly. This pressure relief valve helps relieve excess pressure and prevent the tank from overheating.
  3. Temperature adjustment: Set the water heater temperature to an appropriate level to prevent overheating and reduce the risk of scalding. Most manufacturers recommend a temperature between 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Monitor water quality: If you notice changes in water color or odor, consider installing a water filtration system or contacting a professional plumber to assess the situation and recommend appropriate solutions.

Home Remedies

There are certain home remedies that can help troubleshoot and potentially resolve some common water heater failures. By understanding these remedies and knowing how to implement them correctly:

  1. Flushing the tank: Regularly flushing the water heater tank helps remove sediment buildup and prolongs its lifespan. Follow manufacturer instructions or consult a professional for proper flushing techniques.
  2. Anode rod replacement: The anode rod helps prevent corrosion inside the tank. Over time, it deteriorates and needs replacement. Check the manufacturer's recommendations and have the anode rod replaced as required.
  3. Insulating the pipes and tank: Insulating the hot water pipes and the water heater tank helps reduce heat loss, improving energy efficiency and reducing the strain on the water heater.

Water Heater Failure? GO Heating, Air & Plumbing Can Help

Being aware of the signs of water heater failure is crucial to ensure timely water heater repairs or replacements. Additionally, by recognizing common and uncanny signs, homeowners can take proactive measures to avoid sudden breakdowns and water damage. Rather than waiting for a complete water heater breakdown to occur before taking action, it is advisable to take advantage of the knowledge gained from this blog post. By doing so, you can be proactive in addressing potential issues with your water heater. Therefore, don't hesitate to contact GO Heating, Air & Plumbing today to schedule a professional inspection and ensure your hot water needs are met.

Water Heater Failure in Plano TX


How long does a water heater typically last?

The average lifespan of a water heater is around 8 to 12 years. However, proper maintenance and regular inspections can help prolong its lifespan.

Can I repair a water heater myself?

While some minor repairs can be done by homeowners, it is generally recommended to seek professional assistance for water heater repairs. Handling complex repairs or installations without proper knowledge and experience can lead to safety hazards or further damage.

Should I drain my water heater regularly?

Yes, indeed, regularly draining your water heater to remove sediment buildup is a highly recommended maintenance practice. Firstly, consult the manufacturer's instructions or, alternatively, seek professional advice on the appropriate frequency for draining your specific water heater model. By doing so, you can ensure optimal performance and extend the lifespan of your water heater.

What should I do if my water heater is leaking?

If you notice a water heater leak, turn off the power supply or gas and shut off the water supply to the unit. Contact a professional plumber to assess the situation and provide necessary repairs or replacements.

What do strange noises coming from a water heater indicate?

Strange noises such as banging, popping, or rumbling sounds from a water heater may indicate sediment accumulation at the bottom of the tank, leading to overheating and reduced efficiency.