Before YouTube came around, fixing a water heater often required a call to your local plumber. With the proliferation of videos showing you how to fix common problems, though, there are some issues that can be mended on your own – such as relighting the pilot light on gas water heaters. But even with the best video tutorials, there are some water heater complications you just can’t – or shouldn’t – try to fix on your own. Here’s a list of common issues with water heaters that just may take an expert plumber to solve.

Hot water heater problems

Water Heater is Making Strange Noises

Water heaters are complicated, potentially dangerous pieces of equipment. As such, noises emanating from the water heater can vary greatly, as well as the reason for the noise. Common noises from your water heater that suggest an issue are:

  • Banging, booming, knocking, or pounding noises
  • Crackling, hissing, screeching, shrieking, or screaming noises
  • Whistling, humming
  • vibrating, rumbling, or clicking noises

Just as the sounds can vary, so, too, do the reasons for the water heater making the noises. Some of these are simple fixes and some require major repair or replacement. Determining the cause of the noise requires investigation and sometimes process of elimination.

Discolored or Smelly Water Coming from Your Faucets

When you turn on the hot tap, is the water discolored? Does this happen in every faucet or is it located in one area? If it’s central to a single faucet, the most likely culprit is the piping or faucet itself. If it’s a house-wide issue – call a plumber immediately. There are water discolorations that can be a simple fix, or it can mean a dangerous water heater issue that needs to be remedied. Concerning colors include:

  • Yellowish-brown or red typically indicates rust in the water heater
  • Blue and green water can indicate erosion
  • Blackish water could point to dangerous mold

Another common issue that requires a plumber is if the water coming from your hot faucet is smelly, particularly if it has a rusty or sulfuric smell to it. While a rusty smell may indicate rust build-up in your hot water heater, a sulfuric smell can signal a potentially dangerous situation.

Some water discoloration will not be safe to drink, let alone come into contact with your skin – and with the potentially dangerous situation sulfuric smells can indicate, it’s best to give Heartland Plumbing a call as soon as possible.

Leaking Hot Water Heater

Over time, a hot water heater experiences the natural aging process just like we do. An average hot water heater lives a full life of 8 to 12 years. If your equipment is near or older than that and springs a leak, it’s typically a sign of impending retirement. You’ll notice leaking coming from the tank itself when it’s time to replace the water heater. If the leak looks as if it’s coming from the drain valve located at the bottom of the tank, the valve needs to be replaced. That’s good news, as it’s far less expensive than replacing the entire unit. Either way, it’s time to reach out to a plumber.

Low Hot Water Pressure or No Hot Water

The hot water from your faucets should have the same water pressure as your cold water. If you notice your hot water heater isn’t coming out of multiple faucets at the same rate, you may have a problem with the water heater itself. This usually indicates a sediment build-up within your tank, which requires draining the tank and removing the sediment. Depending on how much sediment is built up depends on how often you’ve performed annual maintenance and the age of the tank itself. While you may be able to drain the water tank yourself, it can be a messy process that might just be easier for a plumber to handle.

If you have no hot water at all and there’s no reason for it (such as extra hot water being used), then you may be experiencing an issue with the lighting components. Whether you have an electric or gas water heater will change troubleshooting steps, and every water heater is different, so follow the instructions in your manual. Signs you need to call a plumber include water inside the compartment, power not storing to the water heater, gas leaks, nonfunctioning burner, or defective parts that keep the pilot light lit.

A properly functioning water heater is critical to quality of life and can be a big pain to go without. If you’re experiencing any of these common water heater issues, give Heartland Plumbing a call and we will be there with solutions in tow. You can rest assured knowing with Heartland on the job, we won’t pressure you into anything you don’t need. Contact us today to make an appointment – and we’ll be there on time and ready to take on your plumbing needs!