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How To Prevent Water Heater Failure

If you’re dealing with water heater problems like strange noises, leaks, or lack of hot water, you may be wondering why it’s failing and what kind of water heater service or repair you can do to fix the issue. Preventing failures and breakdowns is key to getting the most life out of your water heater. Read on as the HVAC technicians and water heater experts at Harker Heating & Cooling answer the most common water heater questions and provide tips to keep your gas or electric water heater running smoothly.


What Does Preventative Maintenance Look Like?

Like any household appliance, you can run into water heater problems if the necessary steps aren’t regularly taken to prevent untimely breakdowns. But what steps should you take to keep it humming along?


At minimum, a yearly check-up by a water heater expert is recommended. They’ll inspect components like temperature sensors, pressure relief valves and burner assemblies. If caught early, water heater preventative maintenance can save you from replacing the entire unit.


Additionally, there are simple water heater service tasks you can perform, like flushing out sediment that builds up in the tank over time. Letting it accumulate not only takes up space that could be occupied by more hot water, but the sediment also can damage critical parts.


What Issues Signal Trouble?

Odd noises, leaks, and loss of performance are three of the telltale warning signs that you need water heater maintenance. Understanding what they mean can help you act quickly when trouble arises.

  1. Odd noises could indicate built-up sediment interfering with standard operation. Catching this early prevents particles from causing big damage.
  2. Leaks point to problems like loose fittings, broken valves or full drip pans. Identify the source of moisture right away before it leads to mold, property damage, or hazardous situations.
  3. Loss of performance for daily household needs often indicates issues with water heating elements or low energy input. Diagnosing these problems is a job for a water heater expert.


Why Do Water Heaters Fail?

There are a few primary reasons water heaters malfunction unexpectedly:

  1. Sediment Build-Up: Years of minerals solidifying in the tank hamper heating capability and warp components. Annual flushing prevents this.
  2. Excessive High Pressure: Too much water pressure strains the unit, spurring leaks and leading to cracked parts over time.
  3. Flame Sensor Failure: If the burner can’t detect a consistent flame, it continually cycles on and off unsuccessfully trying to ignite. Replacing sensors restores smooth ignition.

Whether you have an electric or gas water heater, there’s no such thing as an everlasting model that never fails. Keeping up with water heater preventative maintenance dramatically extends operational lifetime. When issues inevitably crop up that you can’t fix yourself, put your faith in a trusted water heater services provider like Harker!


Do You Hear That? Understanding Water Heater Noises

Your heater might be moaning and groaning like your achy uncle, screaming like a newborn baby or somewhere in between. Malfunctioning water heaters can make different noises that provide clues leading to a successful malfunction diagnosis. Deciphering the sounds provides insight into possible mechanical troubles. 

Understanding what normal acoustic activity is versus problematic levels helps you react appropriately. Here’s a quick guide of the usual suspects:

  • Rumbling and Popping: Sediment build-up mucking up standard functioning.
  • Screeching Metal: Failures in moveable components causing scraping.
  • High-Pitched Whistling: Escaping gas indicating loose fittings. Exercise caution! These fittings could pop off at any moment.
  • Banging and Knocking: Debris or loose parts striking interior sides

While some noise is inevitable in any mechanical system, loud, unusual, erratic or sudden sounds from your water heater demands further inspection to identify their root cause. Never hesitate to call in help from a water heater service provider near you if unfamiliar water heater noises have you concerned.


When Should Leaks Raise Concern?

Water leaks can be a nightmare for a homeowner, causing flooding, decay or mold of important structures within a home. While minor occasional dripping may seem harmless, uncontrolled moisture compromises safety and leads to big-ticket damage. Getting educated on what to look for reduces risk.

  • Slow Drips: Loose fittings and bad seals can indicate eventual failure points.
  • Steady Streaming: Fully disconnected hoses and cracked fixtures require repair or replacement.
  • Pooling Water: Overflowing drip pans or backed up drain lines cause hazardous flooding.

Catching leaks early and completely repairing issues provides protection against electric short circuits, rust accumulation, flooded basements and slippery falls. Don’t let pesky leaks sabotage your water heater! Call an HVAC technician for repair at the very first sign of trouble.


Maintenance Matters

Like routine trips to the doctor and dentists for your health, preventative seasonal maintenance helps sustain your water heater’s well-being. Tuning up critical components extends operational lifetime so you aren’t left suddenly cold when failure strikes.

Follow these Best Practice Basics:

  • Annual Professional Inspections: Water heater experts can identify deterioration before costly emergency breakdowns.
  • Sediment Flushing: Clear out corrosive sediments that degrade the tank.
  • Check Valve and Sensor Function: Ensure proper water flow and heating metrics by giving the water heater’s components an occasional once-over. 
  • Examine all Fittings and Seals: Verify no leakage-allowing moisture threats.

Don’t embroil yourself in preventable hot water heater issues! Keep your system smiling by scheduling preventative hot water heater maintenance with Harker Heating & Cooling – Madison’s trusted specialists. Call Harker Heating & Cooling today!

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