1. There’s a leak in the tank.
Picture this: you wake up and walk downstairs to discover you now have a very shallow and very inconvenient indoor pool. That’s one type of call we get a lot. Your water heater has sprung a leak, and now your basement is flooded. No one wants to find themselves in this situation - not only can it be a lengthy clean-up, it can cause serious damage as well.
If you notice there is a trickle of a small leak coming from the tank, you'll want to get this repaired as soon as possible before it develops into a flooded basement.
If you discover a leak, you’ll almost always need to replace the water heater. The process to repair a leak involves opening up the tank and welding it back together. The issue with that repair is it’s simply so costly and labor-intensive that sometimes it makes more sense to replace the water heater altogether.
You’ll want to be sure to locate where the leak is coming from. If the leak is coming from the tank, it can’t be repaired and needs to be replaced. However, sometimes the pipes feeding into the water heater can leak. If this is the case, you may be in luck, and it may just need some service.
If your water heater is leaking, immediately find a way to control the water and call today to get it serviced or replaced.
2. You’re running out of hot water.
Sometimes, there’s no fix to getting more hot water other than getting a new water heater. A key thing to understand when it comes to tank water heaters is that they have a limited capacity for hot water. When they run out of hot water, it refills with cold water, and then it takes time to bring that water back up to temperature.
Once your tank has emptied its store of hot water, there will be downtime until you have hot water again.
Let’s say, for example, that you have a 40-gallon water heater that has 30 gallons of hot water in it. Once those 30 gallons of hot water are used up, it’s going to take time for you to have hot water available to you again. A bigger tank and/or a more powerful tank will have a higher capacity and, therefore, more hot water available to you. That’s why you may need a new water heater if you want more hot water. If you don’t have a large enough tank for your home and family, you’ll need a water heater that can meet your demand.
There are a lot of factors that play into how much hot water your water heater can produce. The output of a water heater depends on the GPM (gallons per minute) and BTU (British thermal units). These measurements of the water heater combined with your groundwater temperature are used to determine the overall output of your water heater. If you're buying a tankless water heater and want a more in-depth look at both of these calculations, you can take a look at this article “The Complete Guide To Choosing A Tankless Water Heater” and “What Size Tankless Water Heater Do I Need?”.
3. You can see rust on your tank.
A rusted tank is essentially just a leak waiting to happen.
We recommend getting your water heater looked at as soon as possible if you see rust.
We say this because if you can see rust, that means the tank’s integrity may be compromised and water is just waiting to get out. In a water heater tank, there are several layers of protection between the water and the outside. From the inside out, there is an anode rod in the water that makes it less corrosive, there’s an enamel layer between the water and the steel, then there’s the steel, then the outside. Visible rust on the tank means that the integrity of the steel itself is compromised, and there’s no telling how long until it gives out.
If you want to know more about tank corrosion and the tank of your water heater itself, take a look at our article “What are water heater tanks made of?”
If any of these apply to you and you’re in the Minneapolis metro or Rochester area, give us a call or contact us here to set up an appointment where we can see what you’ve got going on with your water heater and get it fixed.