6 Signs your Tank Water Heater is Going Bad

Leaky Water Heater

Did you know that the average person uses 80 – 110 gallons of water per day? 

How much of that is hot or warm water depends on what you are using the water for.  Each time you turn on a fixture to warm or hot, you are using your water heater.  This can be up to 20 times a day.  Times this by the number of people in your house and you now know how many times your water heater is turning on and heating water each day.  You multiple this over the year and now you know why standard tank water heaters only last 8 – 10 years on average.  There are several signs your water heater may give you before it stops working.    

The Age of the Water Heater

Water Heater Label

Most standard tank water heaters will last between 8 to 10 years.  Knowing how old your water heater is can help prevent an issue before one arises.  Depending on the brand of unit you have, the serial number or manufactured date will provide you with when the unit was manufactured but not installed. You can also look up the serial or date code on the manufacturer’s website and know when the unit was manufactured.  Most water heaters are installed within a few months of being manufactured so this will give you an idea of how old your unit is.  If it is 8 – 10 years old, it is time to have a thorough inspection done by a licensed plumber to ensure the unit is functioning as it should.   

Rusty water coming from your fixtures when hot water is used

If you see rust in your water when you turn on the hot water at the faucet, or shower, this is a good indication that the tank has sediment build up and needs to be flushed.  Flushing the tank may solve this problem temporarily but rust will continue to form and eventually lead to a tank failure.  When you see rust in your water, it is best to have a licensed plumber come and inspect your tank.  They can determine your best solution before you have a leaky tank. 

Rust on the tank and attached pipes, valves, etc.


If you see rust on the outside of the tank, pipes, valves or relief valve, it is very likely there is also rust on the inside of the tank.  When rust starts appearing on any of these spots, you will need to replace your tank sooner rather than later.  There is no way to correct the rust and eventually you will have a water heater which could cause water damage to the surrounding area.

Noises coming from your water heater

As water heaters age, sediment can build up in the bottom which can cause louder rumbling noises to occur when the unit fires up.  If you hear progressively louder noises coming from your water heater when it is in use, it is time to have a professional plumber inspect the unit. 

Leaking water from the water heater

If you see any water on or around the water heater, you will want to thoroughly inspect the unit.  Often times even a pinhole can form in a water heater, which can lead to a leak.  This is not something that can be fixed, the tank will need to be replaced.  You will want to address this immediately so you do not have a significant leak that could damage your house or garage. 

Water not heating properly

Rusty Element

If you experience cold or luke warm water coming from your tank water heater, you will want to first check to ensure the temperature is set correctly on the unit.  If it is, this is another sign that your water heater is not working properly and may need to be replaced.  It is best to have a professional plumber come out and perform a proper inspection.  You may need a new tank or they may be able to replace the heating element if your tank is not rusty, etc.   

Inspect your water heater today before you have a serious issue

Hot Water Heater Repair, Myrtle Beach, SC

Knowing what to look for regarding your water heater can help save you money from costly water heater failure.  Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our highly skilled plumbing technicians who can properly inspect your water heater and provide you with options to meet your needs.  At Dependable Service Plumbing & Air, your water heater is our concern.  Contact us today at 1-843-353-0461.

customer review

“Patty and I highly recommend Dependable Service Plumbing & Air for any home renovation, repair, or construction-based need. Dependable Service Plumbing & Air was efficient with professional service, quality care, and utmost attention to our personal needs. We are extremely pleased with Dave Sodano’s personal attention to our many requests and will continue to use this service for years to come.” –- Gene and Patty M.

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