Signs Your Water Heater Needs Repair

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Heather Jones
Heather Jones
I'm Heather, an author passionate about home improvements. My writing is your guide to making homes better. Let's explore easy ways to enhance your living spaces, from small fixes to exciting projects. Join me on a journey of making your house a cozy and stylish haven.

A water heater is one of the appliances in your home that runs almost every day throughout the year. Constantly running round the clock, your home’s water heater is bound to break or malfunction at some point. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize their water heater is malfunctioning until cold water starts coming out of the tap.

When your heater stops working or malfunctions, it can be incredibly frustrating and inconvenient, especially when you’re looking to enjoy a hot shower after a long day at work. A deteriorating water heater can cause disruptions to your home’s dish-washing, bathing, and laundry schedules, making daily tasks a hassle. That’s why you need to identify potential issues with your appliance to know when repairing your water heater is necessary. Here are the top signs your water heater needs repair:

1. Irregular Water Temperatures

Fluctuating water temperatures is one of the most common signs your water heater needs repair. When there is an issue with your water heater, the water temperature keeps changing even when you haven’t made any temperature adjustments. Sometimes the water comes out hot and other times lukewarm or cold. Oftentimes, this problem is usually caused by the accumulation of mineral deposits. The buildup of mineral deposits around your appliance’s heating components typically prevents it from heating efficiently.

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Have a qualified professional inspect your water heater to identify the root of the problem. If the heating components are faulty, you can have them fixed or replaced with new parts instead of purchasing an entirely new water heater. If your heater is too old, you might consider replacing it with a new one. This will save you a lot of time, money, and the hassle of fixing it multiple times in the future.

2.  Discoloration of Water

Water from your water heater should be colorless. Any water discoloration is a subtle sign there’s an issue with your water heater that needs immediate fixing. While sometimes your water may appear cloudy due to high pressure, it should turn colorless after a few minutes. However, it should be a cause for alarm if you get cloudy, brownish, or rusty water from your water heater faucet.

Corroded pipes can cause rusty water. If the rusty water is only from your heater faucet, the corrosion is probably happening inside your water heater. Brownish or cloudy water from your heater could be caused by an accumulation of mineral deposits. These mineral deposits’ buildup can damage your water heaters inside components. Water discoloration of your water heater could be a serious health hazard and could be a sign of a major issue. It’s crucial to immediately call a water heater expert to have it inspected and repaired. You must also have your water heater regularly maintained and cleaned to get more out of it.

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3.  Hot Water Gets Depleted Fast

Water heaters are designed to hold gallons of water at any one time and usually have two heating elements, one at the top and the other at the bottom. This ensures the gallons of water stay hot and ready for use at all times. However, if your water heater runs out of water sooner than usual, your appliance could have a problem. This could be your water heating elements not working properly or blocked pipes due to the accumulation of mineral deposits. Blocked pipes usually cause reduced water pressure, preventing the proper flow of hot water.

If not resolved, this problem can increase your energy bills or even lead to more complicated issues. If the cause is blocked pipes, deep cleaning your water heater pipes can help fix the problem. If it’s not, call a well-trained professional to perform an assessment and replace damaged heating elements or recommend the right size of water tank for your needs.

4.  Strange Noises Coming From the Tank

Typically, a well-maintained water heater should operate as silently as possible. If you notice any loud or strange noises coming from your heater’s tank, it could signify a more significant problem that requires immediate attention. Rumbling, knocking, or rattling noises could be caused by the buildup of sediments at the bottom of the tank, making it difficult to operate efficiently.

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Older water heating systems also tend to produce loud rumbling, cracking, or popping noises due to worn-out parts. Your water heater may also make strange noises if the dip tube is damaged, causing hot and cold water to mix. Too much rumbling may weaken your water heater’s structures, making it leak. That’s why you need to contact a repair professional to assess your unit and determine the root cause of the problem. If your appliance isn’t leaking, you should have it flushed and deep cleaned to remove the sediments. This will stop it from making noises and keep it performing optimally. If it’s already leaking, you may need a new water heater.

5.  Leaking Water

If you notice water pooling at the bottom of your water heater’s tank, this could be a leakage issue, and you need to have it fixed immediately. Besides rumbling noises, many other things could weaken your water heater and start leaking. One of the reasons could be the expansion of the water tank. Repeated heating cycles may lead to expansion issues of the tank’s metal, causing fractures to form over time.

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The fractures may cause water to leak, especially if there’s too much pressure. Water may also leak because of loose connections to the tank. A leaking overflow or pressure pipe can signify a problem with your appliance or a malfunctioning valve. It’s always advisable to call a professional to assess and fix the problem. This can be by tightening loose connections, replacing broken relief valves, or even replacing the water heater.


Your water heater should serve you for an average of eight to 12 years with proper maintenance. However, due to regular use, your unit is likely to experience issues or even get damaged and stop working entirely. Being always on the lookout for the issues above can help you identify when your appliance starts deteriorating and have the problem fixed. This helps prevent minor issues from developing into major problems, requiring expensive repairs, or buying a new water heater. Make sure that your water heater is properly maintained and cleaned regularly for longevity and impeccable performance.

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