When you go to wash dishes and the water coming out of the tap is ice cold, you can be pretty confident you need a new hot water heater. But in a perfect world, it would not come to this. You would not have to go without hot water for several days while waiting for a new hot water tank to be installed. Rather, in a perfect world, you would recognize some earlier, more subtle signs that your hot water heater was beginning to struggle. If you do notice these signs, you can arrange to have a new water heater installed.
Increasingly Cool Water
Have you had to go downstairs and adjust the temperature setting on your water heater a few times over the past few months? The water doesn't seem quite as warm, so you turn it up just a little. This often means your hot water heater is struggling to maintain its temperature. There might be a lot of mineral buildup on the burner or anode rod, or the burner may not be heating up as hot as it should. Sometimes there is something a plumber can do to fix the problem, but if your water heater is more than a few years old, the best approach is often to install a new one.
Have you ever found little droplets of water around the base of your hot water heater? It's easy to shrug these off, especially if you already have a moist basement and are not bothered by a little water. But it's not just water damage you need to be concerned about here. If the tank is leaking, that either means it has a problem with a valve, or it's developing some rust that's causing holes to form. Both problems mean you likely need a new hot water heater before it empties out completely onto your basement floor.
Take a look at the color of the flame beneath your hot water heater. If it is yellow, not blue, that means it is not getting hot enough. Not only will it struggle to heat your water, but it may also be releasing dangerous gasses as it burns. Your plumber might be able to make some repairs to the burner or gas line to fix the problem, but in an older water tank, this is a good sign it's time to say goodbye.
It's best to have a new hot water heater installed before you are forced to do so in an emergency, no-hot-water situation. Call a plumber to learn more about water heater installation services.