10 Signs Your Water Heater Needs Repair In 2022

Water heaters are one of the most out of sight, out of mind appliances until they cause an inconvenience. A broken water heater can be a crisis to your checkbook, peace of mind and sometimes to the structure of your home. This is why recognizing when your water heater needs repair and calling us early are imperative. In this blog we’ll be going over the top 10 signs that your water heater needs repair or replacement, along with how regular water heater maintenance can prevent emergencies and extend the life of your appliance. 

Issues With Water Volume

Water volume refers to the amount of hot water in your heater.  If you’re noticing the hot water running out faster than usual this can be a telltale sign your water heater needs repair. An electric water heater typically contains two heating elements. On the other hand, a gas water heater usually only has a single burner that heats the water evenly by pushing exhaust through a central tube called a flue. If you’re experiencing a lack of hot water volume this may indicate a buildup of sediment is interfering with the heat exchangers or a dip tube has broken.

Inconsistent Temperatures

Perhaps your hot water isn’t running out too fast, but rather it only gets lukewarm, stays cold entirely or fluctuates wildly between hot and cold temperatures. While there are many things it could be such as the thermostat, the heat regulator or the pressure balance valve, the main cause for this concern is mineral deposits. Minerals accumulate on the heating elements, causing them to work unreliably or sometimes not at all. In many cases the buildup can be cleaned, but if it’s left too long it can damage the heater irreversibly. It’s important to call a plumber as soon as you notice any inconsistencies so that the problem is diagnosed correctly and doesn’t get worse.


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Inconsistent Pressure

Another common sign of a struggling water heater is changes in water pressure. If your water pressure has lessened, especially at higher temperatures, it’s a good indicator it needs to be serviced. As with water volume and temperature, water pressure issues are most commonly caused by mineral build up, which is why professional maintenance is so important for the longevity of your water heater. Other causes of your water pressure lacking could be a kinked distribution line or a damaged pressure regulator. 

Unusual Colors

Aside from volume, temperature and pressure, taking a closer look at the water itself may help you recognize signs of trouble with your appliance. Yellow or brown water can indicate a buildup of dirt and or rust within your water heater. While this doesn’t always mean there’s an issue with the heater’s functionality, it does mean a flush is necessary in order to remove all the debris and prevent further issues.

Unusual Tastes Or Smells

Similarly to odd colors being present in your water, a strange taste or smell can be signs you need a water heater repair.  Water smelling bad or like a boiled egg is often a result of a bacterial overgrowth in the tank of the heater, while a metallic taste can indicate internal corrosion. The health of your family and the health of your appliance could both be affected, meaning these seemingly small signs shouldn’t be overlooked. 

Unusual Noises

Sometimes it isn’t the water itself that raises alarm, but rather uncharacteristic noises coming from your gas or electric water heater. Some sounds are overall safe, like a light humming or soft clicking. While other noises, like any loud cracking, banging or popping should be checked out immediately. Such sounds are usually a sign of mineral build up, which you may have noticed by now is a common culprit that causes many water heater dysfunctions. While a bit of noise may not seem that impactful, it can lead to your heating element burning out or worse, leaks impacting the structural integrity of the water heater itself.


This leads us to one of the most serious signs your water heater needs to be fixed, a leak. Leaks can indicate a rupture, a misalignment or a loosely sealed pipe. Leaks are common in older water heaters but can happen in newer ones when they aren’t regularly serviced. The smallest leak has the capacity to become chaos if it isn’t remedied quickly. If you notice a leak, call to have your water heater serviced before it can transform from an inconvenience to a costly set of home repairs.


While condensation is sometimes linked to a leak it is often caused simply from colder water accumulating around the hotter surface of the heater. Condensation is overall more benign than a leak, but if it doesn’t clear within a few hours it can still be a call for concern. Consistent condensation may mean the size of your water heater isn’t suitable for the strain caused by the amount of appliances you run in your home, or that the area isn’t well ventilated enough. Having it professionally serviced can help you determine the cause and make sure no leaks are present.


We’ve already gone over the internal signs of corrosion, such as your water having an unusual color, taste or smell, but corrosion can also present itself on the exterior of your heater. This usually happens because of a leak or condensation that went unnoticed. Making sure you have your heater serviced annually and increasing the airflow in the area can help prevent corrosion and keep your water heater running well.


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Heater Age & Time Between Services

The average water heater is designed to last you between 8 to 12 years, sometimes you can even extend the life of your appliance beyond this if you’re proactive about its maintenance and aware of the signs to look out for. Perhaps the most common, and most commonly overlooked sign that you should be contacting a plumber, is the general age of your appliance and the time that’s passed between your water heater services. Even if none of the above signs are present, having your heater professionally serviced on a yearly basis is recommended, especially if it’s older. This keeps it running optimally and prevents more serious issues from surfacing in the future.

Whatever your water heater needs may be, Chosen Rooter & Plumbing is here to restore your comfort by providing affordable, reliable and knowledgeable plumbing services in the San Francisco Bay Area, because you don’t have to lose sleep over your plumbing issues.

Call us today at (415) 702-9919 to save money and get the job done right.