Updated at: 17-08-2022 - By: cnbusinessnews

To take hot water for granted is easy if you’re used to it, but it can be a rude awakening when it suddenly isn’t there. Thankfully, water heaters don’t routinely die on their own. Therefore, it is crucial that you pay attention to the signs that your hot water heater is malfunctioning. Determine the warning signs of a failing hot water heater to save the hassle, expense, and any property damage that would result from a failure.

What Causes a Hot Water Heater to Go Bad?

Before going into the danger signals your hot water heater is sending, you need get to know its components. In a standard water heater, the tank used to store water is coated for safety. Burners used to heat the water are housed within a central conduit. Electric or gas-powered, their construction takes many forms. By capturing corrosive particles with an anode rod, the unit’s useful life lifetime can be lengthened.

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Most hot water heaters have a lifespan estimation between 10 and 15 years. There are a number of potential reasons why a hot water heater would stop working. Wear and tear on anode rods is inevitable. Metal storage containers are prone to rust and leaks. Infrequently, your home’s heating equipment may stop functioning entirely. In some cases, it may be possible to replace a specific part with another. If your hot water heater keeps breaking down, and it’s been in use for more than ten years, it’s probably time to get a new one.

Signs Your Hot Water Heater Is Going to Fail

You can potentially save both time and money by studying the signs that your water heater is about to die. If your water heater is malfunctioning, you may be wondering how to know. You may be able to prevent a catastrophic water heater failure if you pay attention to the following warning indications.

1. Water leaking from the heating tank

Water heaters should be replaced if they develop leaks. Water from the tank may leak or pool on your valuable machinery. The pipes could be leaking, too.

The valves may not be fully closed, or the connections may be slack. If any of these components become loose, they are simple to adjust or replace. If the tank is leaking, you will need to get a new water heater.

2. Age of the water heater

If your machinery is getting on in years, you need take precautions. The installation date is typically printed on the label. If you don’t have the production date handy, you can use the model number and manufacturer’s name to find it online.

Water heater replacement costs are manageable. Appliances with the ENERGY STAR ® symbol consume 20 percent less energy and get the job done in a third of the time compared to conventional models. Additionally, modern units can be compacted to occupy less room.

3. Running out of hot water quickly

If your water includes a lot of sediment or if your hot water heater hasn’t been cleaned in a while, sediment may accumulate in the tank. The rapid depletion of hot water supplies can be attributed to the fact that sediment reduces the amount of water that can be heated. It’s a telltale sign that something is wrong with your hot water heater.

If you don’t clean the sediment out of the unit before repairing the problem, the valves could become clogged and rusted. This means you’ll need to replace it if it breaks. If that’s the case, a tankless heater may be your best bet.

4. Inconsistent water temperature in the shower

When the water temperature in your home changes, it’s a solid sign that your hot water heater has stopped working. Changing the thermostat can be the only thing that needs to be done. If the heating elements break, it’s a much greater deal.

Again, think about how long it’s been since you upgraded your gadget. Investing in a new, more energy-efficient water heater may be more beneficial financially.

5. Discolored water coming from faucets

Rusty or muddy water is another common sign of a malfunctioning hot water heater. Corrosion protection on a water heater tank is temporary. When the coating starts to wear off, rust forms rapidly.

If your water is rusty, it’s time to get a new hot water tank. Even while it has no health risks, it can stain clothes and damage electronics. It’s also probably not going to taste well in your mouth. If your problem is small, replacing the anode rods can give your equipment a new lease on life. Furthermore, you may want to consider flushing it.

6. Unusual noises coming from the water heater

The element in your hot water heater may be broken if it is making strange noises. An unfavorable portent, however it can herald something else completely. It’s possible that mineral deposits and sediment are clogging your digestive system. Your home’s water pressure or water flow could be to blame for the issue. Valves and other connections may have come loose.

In order to ensure that your system is functioning properly, it is recommended that you have a professional flush and inspect it. They can inform you how often you should service your hot water heater and whether or not it is about to break down.

7. Lower water pressure

In homes where the water pressure is low, sediment builds up more rapidly. One thing to bear in mind is that hard water tends to cause clogs in plumbing far more quickly than soft water does. If your water pressure is weak, it could be because sediment has built up in your hot water heater or its connections.

One of the warning signs that your hot water heater needs repair is if it leaks. Addressing the issue before it becomes critical could extend the life of your equipment.

Dealing with water heater failure

If your hot water heater is showing signs of failing, don’t ignore them. If you experience any of the aforementioned signs, it’s important to get your system checked out by an expert right away. Furthermore, while replacing your water heater, consider one that uses less energy. Using ENERGY STAR ® and other energy-efficient devices can help reduce monthly utility costs.

Check the Warranty

Commercial and residential water heaters alike come with the same standard limited warranty. Each tank has a rating plate with its model and serial number on it. The tank’s serial number and manufacturing year can be checked to see if a reduced warranty applies. Do not hesitate to call the manufacturer if the tank has a leak or the element is defective. Manufacturer warranties do not include labor performed in the field. This step can be taken before any attempt is made to diagnose the problem.


Since electric water heaters are high-voltage (240 volt) appliances, they must never be worked on while the power is on. Turn off the water heater’s circuit in your home’s service panel before viewing any of its electrical components (breaker box). You should use a non-contact voltage tester on all of the heater’s wires before touching them to ensure the power is off.

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No Hot Water

If your water heater isn’t producing hot water, it could be because one or more of its heating components has failed.

Verify that the water heater’s circuit breaker in the service panel has not tripped. Turning the breaker off and on again will restore power once it has been interrupted.

If the circuit breaker does not trip, the heater’s high-temperature limit can be reset (or if the heater is still on).

  1. The water heater’s power supply can be cut off at the service panel.
  2. The upper heating element access panel on the water heater needs to be taken off.
  3. While removing the insulation and plastic safety cover, avoid touching any wires or electrical components.
  4. Use the pull-down menu to choose “Reset high temperature cutoff,” then press the “Red Button.”
  5. The insulation, access panel, and safety barrier should all be taken down.
  6. The circuit breaker for the heater must be activated.
  7. If this doesn’t fix the problem, you may need to inspect and potentially replace each heating element.

Inadequate Hot Water

If your water heater is producing hot water but not enough for your household, it may be too small. Check the water heater’s capacity to make sure it won’t be exceeded.

How to Fix

To ensure there is always enough hot water, the water heater’s capacity should be set to 75% at all times. For a 30-gallon household, for instance, a water heater with a 40-gallon tank would be sufficient. The length of showers should be shortened, low-flow showerheads should be fitted, and household chores like washing the dishes and folding the laundry should be spread out throughout the day.

If your unit is not undersized but is now providing significantly less hot water than before, the heating element(s) may have burned out. Lukewarm water in the shower indicates a problem with the higher heating element. There could be a problem with the bottom heating element if your shower’s hot water soon runs out.

Water Temperature Is Too Hot

Having too much hot water can be as annoying as having too little of any kind. Whether you’re having this problem, check to see if the temperature settings on your water heater are too high.

How to Fix

Now is a good time to check the thermostat settings.

  1. Shut off the water heater’s circuit breaker.
  2. Remove the access panel, insulation, and plastic shield from each heating element. Stay away from any exposed wiring or plugs.
  3. Make sure the power is off by using a non-contact voltage tester on the cables.
  4. The temperature on both thermostats should be the same. Each of them needs to be at the same temperature. The optimal temperature range is 115 to 125 degrees.
  5. Make precise adjustments to the temperature with a flathead screwdriver.
  6. Maintain a consistent temperature between both thermostats.
  7. It’s important to change out the shielding, insulation, and access panels on every part.
  8. The circuit breaker for the heater must be activated.

Water Leaks

While malfunctioning valves and connections are the most common cause of water loss, a leaking tank is not out of the question. A water leak can cause significant damage to a house and should be fixed as soon as feasible.

How to Fix

Leaky water heater tanks can develop if the heating components become loose or the tank deteriorates. Tighten any slack parts using an element wrench if needed.

Tanks that have been damaged beyond repair must be replaced. Turning off the water and power to the water heater should stop the leak. The tank should then be completely emptied.

Rust-Colored Water or Bad Odor

If the water coming out of your faucet is discolored (brown, yellow, or red), corrosion may be occurring in your water heater or in your plumbing. Possible source of rotten egg odor: bacteria growing in your hot water heater tank. 1 A plumber should be called in if the anode rod in your tank needs to be changed.

Tank Making Noises

Is there noise coming from your water heater? There is a low, rumbling, or popping sound. An extremely loud whine, maybe? The sound could be caused by water boiling. Overheating can occur if sediment accumulates to a great degree at the bottom of the tank.

How to Fix

The first step is to try to remove the silt by draining the tank. If not, you could need a new tank.


How can you tell if a water heater element is bad?

Procedures for Evaluating Elements The power must be cut off. To put it simply, those metal shields need to go. It’s time to strip away the wrapping and the insulation. You can find the heating element either in the basement or the attic. Check the breaker box to make sure the electricity is off. The heater element can be tested using a multimeter. Separate the Water Heater’s components.

What does the reset button do on a hot water heater?

When your water reaches a temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit, the power to your water heater will be automatically shut off. This switch is also known as a high limit safety thermostat switch or ECO (emergency cut off) switch.

How do you know when to replace a hot water heater?

Any water heater that shows signs of wear, such as a leak, should be replaced immediately. When sediment builds up and causes a knocking sound, it needs to be cleaned out. If your water is rusty, it means something is wrong with your plumbing.

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What happens when water is electrified?

Electrocuted water poses a significant risk to anyone who enters it. Inadequate wiring or maintenance of equipment can leak electricity into the water, paralyzing swimmers and eventually leading to their deaths.

How long does water stay electrified?

At least until the electricity that powers the water system is cut off or the water itself is no longer usable. Water is a conductor but not a reservoir for electrical energy. The outcome is the same regardless of the substance used. It will keep on working as long as it is plugged into an outlet.

How do you test for stray voltage in water?

An Explanation of the Voltage Swap Test Your own or someone else’s voltage meter is required. From the pull-down menu, choose “120 AC Voltage.” The third prong of a wall outlet is for grounding, also known as the “grounding” prong. Insert the red metal probe into the tank. Check the meter’s needle frequently.

Why is my water heater not getting hot?

If your electric water heater isn’t producing hot water, check the fuses or circuit breakers in your electrical panel. A faulty or unplugged power cord is another common cause of problems with electric water heaters. An insufficient supply of gas for use in water heaters is one possible cause.

Why is my hot water not getting hot?

If your water heater isn’t producing hot water, it could be because one or more of its heating components has failed. Verify that the water heater’s circuit breaker in the service panel has not tripped. Turning the breaker off and on again will restore power once it has been interrupted.

What happens when a water heater goes bad?

Issues with the Water Heater Large water leaks are often an indication of a faulty water heater. In contrast, even a small leak can result in costly repairs to your flooring, subfloors, and valuables. A water leak like that can cause thousands of dollars in damage.

What is the most common problem with water heaters?

Leaks are the most common issue with water heaters. As time goes on, your water heater’s vulnerability to corrosion and the subsequent formation of leaky, microscopic cracks or fractures is increased by prolonged submersion in water. However, this is not always an indication that your tank is the source of the problem.

How do I reset my electric hot water heater?

Every electric water heater has a reset button that may be accessed from anywhere on the unit. Usually red and located close to the thermostat. Some units have a metal panel that can be accessed by removing insulation. When you find the button, press it and let go.

What is the average life of a water heater?

If you could tell me where you are and what sort of water heater you have, I’d be grateful. In general, a standard gas water heater will last between 8 and 12 years, however this number might vary greatly depending on the local climate and other factors. The amount of silt in the tank can shorten the life of your water heater.

How many years does a water heater last?

Before your water leaks and damages your home, it would be helpful to know when the time is appropriate to get a new one. Six to 13 years is the typical lifespan of a home hot water heater. You’ve only got 12 more years to live, so make the most of it!

Can I replace my hot water heater myself?

Before your water leaks and damages your home, it would be helpful to know when the time is appropriate to get a new one. Six to 13 years is the typical lifespan of a home hot water heater. You’ve only got 12 more years to live, so make the most of it!

Can you survive electrified water?

You should know when to replace your water pipe so that you may avoid costly leaks and structural damage to your property. A residential hot water heater typically lasts between 6 and 13 years. You only have another 12 years to live, so don’t waste them.

Can a battery in water electrocute you?

A fully charged battery poses little risk to a swimmer except for the potential release of toxic chemicals. Because of the lack of voltage, they won’t be harmed. The current flows from one terminal to the next, so that’s something to keep in mind as well.


The loss of hot water would seriously disrupt our daily lives. Home life might grind to a halt in its absence. Therefore, a broken water heater is a pressing problem that needs immediate attention.

Sensitivity alone is not enough; you also need to know what you’re doing and how to do it properly. A water heater that isn’t functioning correctly might be an irritation. A chilly shower or bath is not something you have to put up with if you have the information and take the time to double-check.