Your home's water heater is an essential part of your everyday life, especially during the winter months. But like all appliances, your water heater can become worn down and begin to function less efficiently over time due to general use. Understanding what to look out for can help you determine when your water heater needs to be repaired before it ceases to function and leaves you shivering in the shower before work one morning.
Rust in your water is a clear indication that something is wrong with your water heater. This is usually caused by an anode rod that has been completely eaten away, allowing rust to begin to form on the tank itself. This is a fairly simple fix and only requires the anode rod to be replaced. However, in order to determine if the rust is developed in your water heater or in your pipes, you should turn on cold water in your shower, and then switch to hot water after a few minutes. If the cold water didn't produce any rust, but the hot did, the issue is with your water heater. If the cold water did produce rust, the issue can be found in your pipes (which is more serious and still necessitates contacting a plumber).
Water heaters will make noise while they work, like pretty much all appliances. However, these noises should not be immediately noticeable to you, and any sounds that resemble rumbling or banging can indicate a very serious issue with the machinery inside of your water heater. While sounds may not seem like a serious warning, letting them go unchecked can cause components within your heater to fail suddenly. If there seems to be excessive noise coming out of your water heater fairly consistently, you should contact a plumbing professional at the first opportunity to take a look at the heater and see what is causing the issue.
Though this should go without saying, leaks in your water heater can indicate a serious problem with either the water heater tank or the plumbing attached to it. However, since your water heater will be located in the basement or in another out of the way area, such leaks can go unnoticed for a fairly significant period of time. This means that it's a good idea to take a quick look around your water heater when cleaning or doing home maintenance to ensure that it is still in good working order and there are no signs of water damage or standing water around the tank and pipes.
For more information, contact local professionals like StateWide Mechanical II Inc.