If you have a tank-style water heater, you may not think about it very often. However, ignoring your water heater can lead to expensive bills down the road. Learn the three biggest problems that water heaters can have in this blog and how to solve them — and make sure to keep your water heater in mind when you schedule your important home maintenance tasks.
- Water Heaters Can Leak
When it comes to flooding, leaks, and other water damage in the home, the water heater is one of the five most common causes. Because a tank-style water heater holds a lot of water at once, if it begins to leak, the results can be messy at best and damaging to your home at worst.
If water leaks go undetected for a long period of time, the damage to your home may be significant. Depending on the location of your water heater, a small leak can cause the following problems:
- Damaged carpet, furniture, and belongings
- Mold and mildew growth
- Rotted floor joists
- Rotted wall framing
To avoid finding hidden water damage in your home, have your water heater inspected once or twice a year. If your water heater is located on an upper floor of your home, be sure you have a drip pan with a drain or a water alarm in it.
If you have a closed loop water system, one that has a back flow preventer and/or check valve in it — be sure that your water heater is outfitted with an expansion tank.
- Water Heaters Can Corrode
Fresh water can carry lot of oxygen, as well as a host of minerals, as it enters your water heater. Consequently, even the best water heaters are prone to corrosion.
For this reason, modern water heaters include a sacrificial rod, called an anode rod. It rests in your water-heater tank and is a few inches shorter than your water heater’s internal height. The anode rod is made of magnesium or aluminum, so it undergoes the same corrosion as steel.
The anode works by attractive corrosive elements in the water to it, instead of letting those elements corrode the water heater itself. Experts recommend that you have your anode rod checked every two years. If you use a water-softening appliance or product, have the anode rod examined annually.
During an inspection, your plumber will check the anode rod to see how much it’s been eaten by corrosion. If the rod needs replacement, your plumber simply screws a fresh anode rod into place. If you replace the anode rod frequently enough, your water heater won’t become corroded and will last longer.
- Water Heaters, Like All Appliances, Eventually Die
A water heater has a finite lifetime. If you’re diligent about having your water heater inspected and serviced, your water heater will last longer and perform more efficiently. However, no matter how much care the water heater receives, your water heater’s time with you is limited.
Many home inspectors insist that water heaters be automatically replaced after 12 years of service. If your water heater is approaching this age, have your plumber install a new, energy-efficient water heater in its place.
If your water heater’s been acting weird lately, call or contact the plumbing experts at Rakeman Plumbing. We’re available for plumbing emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We also perform routine inspections and servicing of water heaters and other appliances for your peace of mind.