It’s no fun going without hot water. And that’s especially true when the seasons change and the temperatures take a dip.
Like nearly every other appliance in your house, your water heater can fail. And that can lead to leaks (not to mention many nights of chilly showers).
Here are some of the reasons why water heaters fail—and what you can do help prevent that from happening.
1. Internal rust: Sacrificial Anodes are highly active metal rods that help prevent your water heater from corroding. Sacrificial anodes are consumed in the place of the metal they protect—hence the name “sacrificial.” Over time, they need to be replaced.
The fix: Though they typically last several years, it’s a good idea to check yours every year and replace it if it looks worn down.
2. Sediment buildup: When water is heated, minerals separate and settle onto the bottom of a water heater. Sediment buildup over time reduces the efficiency of your water heater and can eventually lead to damage. This is especially an issue if you have hard water.
The fix: Flush out your water heater at least once a year.
3. High water pressure: Water pressure that’s too high can damage your water heater, as well as your pipes and other appliances.
The fix: Keep the water pressure on your heater no higher than 80 psi.
4. Corrosive fumes: In order for combustion to occur, water heaters need to draw in air. Problems can occur if the air quality is poor. Especially dangerous is corrosive air, which can corrode your tank and lead to water heater failure.
The fix: Keep corrosive substances like ammonia and bleach far away from your water heater.
5. Wrong size heater: Water heaters come in a variety of sizes to accommodate the water usage of all the people and appliances in your home. If you buy a water heater that’s too small for your needs, it will need to work more than it should—and that can lead it to breakdown from overuse.
The fix: Talk with an appliance expert to make sure you buy a water heater that’s the right size for your household.
6. Old age: Water heaters are designed to last between 10 and 15 years. Any longer than that, and you’re probably on borrowed time.
The fix: If your water heater is at the end of its life span, consider proactively replacing it with a newer, more energy-efficient model.