Winter Water Heater Breakdown: Warning Signs and What to Do
This winter is predicted to be a cold one....a very cold one! And if there is one event guaranteed to create lasting winter memories, it is not being able to take a hot shower.
You may not want to remember this, but you likely won't be able to forget it, either.
The truth is, no water heater lasts forever. First-time homeowners often learn this when their first water heater suddenly calls it quits.
Long time homeowners learn this by keeping up with preventative maintenance, making minor repairs when called for and always keeping an eye on the ticking clock of our water heater's useful life.
This winter is likely going to be harder on your water heater than any in recent memory. With COVID still sweeping through the country, you are also likely to be using it more than you ever have while you are cooped up indoors.
Want to avoid your winter water heater breaking down this year? Be sure to follow these tips provided by our qualified team of heating experts at Bi-Temp in Belleville, Ontario! Don’t forget to contact us for more information or if you think your water heater requires maintenance this winter.
Warning Signs Your Water Heater Is Headed for a Breakdown
These are the most common warning signs that our Bi-Temp technicians have seen over the years! All of them have led to customers calling us out to make a major repair - or a new water heater installation!
1. Your water heater runs hot and cold.
It is one thing when the hot water just runs out, but it is quite another problem to deal with when your water temperature seems to change on its own after you set it.
This early warning sign is easily overlooked - you can even chalk it up to your mind playing tricks with you.
Inside your water heater's heating element, the struggle is real, whether due to a failing heating element, mineral deposits or simple old age.
2. Your water pressure is MIA.
Another commonly overlooked warning sign of an impending water heater outage is a reduction in water pressure while using the hot water.
Here, mineral deposits are typically the culprit, but a pipe leak is not out of the question either, especially in the dead of a brutal Canadian winter.
3. You haven't used the hot water, but there is water leaking around it.
Yet another issue that can too readily be passed off as something unrelated is standing water around the hot water heater.
If your water heater is leaking, you may not see the micro-drips that can lead to standing water around the unit itself. When you see puddles forming, however, this is a clear signal to look more closely in order to find out where that water is coming from.
4. The water looks, smells or tastes different.
Most of us can easily tell when the milk in the fridge has gone bad, but how about when your water quality has changed?
Signs That Your Water Quality Has Changed:
- Corrosion in the pipes
- Bacteria colonization
- Mineral deposits building up
All of these signs can cause the water to turn cloudy or discoloured, smell strange and taste even stranger.
5. The water heater sounds like the brass section of your local orchestra.
Clangs, bangs, pops, whistles, knocks, crackling and other sounds may indicate that those pesky mineral deposits are interfering with the operation of the unit. If the dip tube is compromised, this can also cause noise.
6. Your hot water runs out faster and faster.
This is the number one reason our HVAC team at BiTemp gets called out to service a hot water heater. Everyone notices right away when there is no hot water - especially in the winter months!
Most hot water heaters have two heating elements. When one goes bad, you won't completely lose hot water, but you will have less of it to go around.
How To Keep Your Water Heater Happy This Winter
You know what they say - when your water heater is happy, your family is happy (or something like that). At least that’s what our families at Bi-Temp in Belleville tell us!
Here is what our hot water experts at Bi-Temp recommend in order to keep your water heater humming:
SAFETY NOTE: For safety, ALWAYS power off your hot water heater AND turn off the main water supply valve before doing any type of inspection, maintenance or hot water heater repair.
1. Schedule a tune-up.
The best way to keep your water heater happy this winter is to schedule your annual water heater inspection, cleaning and tune-up as soon as possible. Do you need your water heater inspected this winter? Contact our hot water heater experts at Bi-Temp in Belleville!
2. Insulate your water heater and pipes.
The best way to safeguard against frozen pipes and also boost your water heater's efficiency is to insulate the tank and pipes.
3. Flush out the hot water heater tank.
Flushing out the hot water tank is the best way to remove built-up sediment and residue and improve output. What can make this task difficult is the location of your hot water heater.
If it is below ground level, you may need a pump to drain the tank. Alternately, our team is happy to help with this task.
4. Test out the pressure release valve.
If your valve does not send out a strong stream of hot water when opened, it probably needs to be repaired or replaced.
You definitely don't want to neglect this task, since this valve is all that stands between you and a potential hot water heater explosion.
5. Check the anode rod.
The anode rod works to draw mineral deposits to it and away from the tank walls. But over time, all those sediments can build up and cause corrosion, or worse!
A simple visual inspection can indicate whether the rod may need to be cleaned or replaced.
Bi-Temp Belleville Is Here to Serve You
Bi-Temp in Belleville is open to serve you with safe, contactless HVAC service, invoicing and payment options. Contact our heating experts today to schedule your preventative winter furnace and water heater maintenance.