A hot water heater is a simple machine, one with few moving parts. As such, there is little to go wrong with it, but when it does, it’s impossible to ignore.
In general, hot water heaters should be serviced by a qualified plumbing service at least every three years, whether or not you are having problems or not. The reason for this is because there is an anode, or sacrificial rod inside the tank, which is meant to attract all the minerals which would otherwise cause corrosion to the tank itself. Depending on the mineral content of your water, the sacrificial rod will wear out over time, and it must be replaced before the tank itself starts to sustain damage.
There are tell-tale signs that your hot water heater needs attention, though. Is there condensation around the tank? Does the water appear rusty? There may be a leak in the tank or a faulty pressure relief valve.
Is there crackling in the tank? Do the pipes bang? This may be caused by a buildup of sediment at the bottom of the tank. If it smells like rotten eggs, you might have the additional problem of excessive bacteria buildup in the tank.
Conventional hot water tanks have a life expectancy of about a decade (on municipal water). If your tank is getting up there in years, be aware that nearly any mechanical issue will likely suggest replacement — new tanks are up to 20% more energy efficient and can save you a lot of money.
If it’s been more than a year since your hot water heater has been serviced, or you’re experiencing any of the problems above, call My Plumber San Diego at 1-855-410-2390 to get things fixed up right.