Is My Hot Water Heater Going Bad?

hot-water-heaterYour home’s water heater is a modern convenience that often gets taken advantage of until something goes wrong. If your hot water heater is having any of the problems listed below- it might be time to have it replaced or maintenance by a licensed plumber.

  • Inadequate Hot Water. Insufficient hot water is the most common sign that a water heater going bad. Mineral build-up occurs when water is heated. These mineral deposits settle to the bottom of the hot water storage tank and act as an insulator, keeping the heat produced by the burner to reach the water in the tank. However, the buildup of mineral deposits reduces the heat that reaches the water, so the supply of hot water is reduced.  
  • Foul Smell. Your hot water heater is going bad if the water has a foul smell. When the mineral deposits go out of the water heater, it gives the water a foul smell. These deposits move to your tap, blocking the screens in the aerators that lead to the slow flow of water.
  • Dull Color or Muddy Water. Dull color or muddy water indicates that your water heater is malfunctioning. Increased mineral deposits in the tank can make discolor the water, causing it to look dull or muddy. Turn off the unit then connect a hose to the drainage bib, drain and inspect the contents.
  • Banging or Popping Noise. Banging or popping noise is another sign that your hot water heater is going bad. This noise is caused by the buildup of mineral deposits in the water tank. These deposits insulate the heat from the water as water is being heated by the hot water heater, which causes the tank to overheat and make the banging or popping noises. Metal fatigue results because of the constant heating of the tank and sooner or later, it will break down and starts to leak. To prevent this, flush the tank annually.
  • Leaking or Corroded Connections. Leaking or corroded connections to your hot water heater indicate trouble. To prevent corrosion, hot water heaters use an anode that weakens in time due to the natural corrosion process. The corrosive forces start to attack the tank and connections when the element weakens that leads the water heater to go bad.
  • Leaking Water Tank. It is pretty obvious that there is a problem when your hot water tank leaks. Turn off the gas or disconnect the electricity to the tank to allow the water to cool down. Remove and replace your leaking water tank immediately to prevent any flooding.
  • Water is Too Hot or Not Enough. Adjusting the thermostat can solve this problem. The ideal hot water temperature for most households is between 120 and 140 degrees. Your tank could have a broken heating element if the water is not too hot or hot enough or no hot water is coming from it. If your hot water tank is run by natural gas, then the gas thermocouple might be broken. Replace this element to enjoy the hot water supply.


Hot water heater installation requires the skill of a professional plumber. Call American Air if you think yours might need replacing.