Published onNovember 2nd, 2020
When to Replace the Water Heater in Your Rental Property? Warning Signs of a Hot Water Heater Going Out
Your hot water heater is one of the keys to tenant comfort in your New York City property, regardless of size. A hot water heater that fails can result in unhappy renters and no hot water. That’s not all. It can also cause unexpected expenses, water damage, and even burn injuries if the heater goes out all of a sudden and bursts. Here are the warning signs of failure so you know when to replace a water heater before it becomes a disaster for your building.
Complaints of No Hot Water
Don’t wait too long.
One of the first signs of a hot water heater on the fritz is the absence of consistent hot water. Sometimes this warning sign comes on gradually. The hot water will be fine one day, and the next it’s barely tepid. If the fuel source, the temperature setting dial, and the piping check out okay, you’ve likely got an issue with your water heater.
Typically, this is not a tank problem, although it’s possible the tank is too small for the size of your property and the demand being placed on it. It’s more likely to be the thermostat or the heating element that’s at fault. We’re happy to come out, take a look, and repair or replace those parts for you.
If you notice signs of sediment in the water (see below), it could be that the heating element is buried in sediment at the bottom of the tank, so it can’t function properly. Draining the tank and removing sediment can sometimes fix this, although it’s possible the heating element will be beyond saving and need replacement anyway.
Pay attention to a sign of danger!
Leaking water around your hot water heater can range from a tiny drip to a large puddle. However, any water leaking means the same thing: you have a crack or breach in the tank somewhere. This can even happen with new heaters, although it’s far more common with aged ones.
Sometimes the hole in the tank can be repaired if it’s small enough and in the right location. But no matter what, if you have water leaking from your heater, it’s time to call a pro like Calray Boilers immediately. Too much pressure on one spot could cause the leak to grow or the heater to burst.
Save yourself the anguish of water flooding your boiler room and scalded employees, and get help ASAP! It may be time to replace the tank, especially if it’s over 15 years old.
Unusual or Excessive Noise Emanating from the Heater
Know what’s normal and what’s not.
Since a hot water heater doesn’t typically have much in the way of mechanical parts that can make noise, it’s usually the heating element trying to heat water through layers of hard mineral sediment at the bottom of the tank that’s causing the unusual sounds. It could also be the sediment itself that’s burning. You may hear:
You should know your heater’s regular sounds well, so if something is off, it’s a sign that you need to take action. This is another case where draining the tank and removing sediment may solve the problem. If not, it will clearly reveal if the heating element has reached the end of its lifespan, so you can replace it.
Unsightly Appearance of the Water
Watch for cloudy or brown water.
As you’ve probably figured out by now, sediment is a major factor in many problems with hot water heaters. Unsightly water can be a sign your heater is on its way out, and this is another sediment issue. If the water is cloudy, brown, or full of particles, that’s a sign sediment is creeping into the water supply and possibly damaging your heater. We usually recommend trying to flush the heater first, and if that doesn’t fix the problem, or if it reveals other issues, we repair or replace accordingly.
Bad Smell and Taste to the Water
Heed the signs of tainted water.
Water that doesn’t look appealing is likely to also smell and taste bad. Your tenants may mention a metallic taste to the water or a disagreeable odor. If only the hot water and not the cold smells or tastes unpleasant, it’s not the water that’s the problem but rather, it’s the hot water heater.
It could be the sediment itself that’s causing the malodorous situation. It’s also possible that if the heating element can’t function properly due to too much sediment, the water isn’t getting hot enough, making it a breeding ground for bacteria. You don’t want your renters’ water supply to be tainted, so we frequently suggest replacing the heater at this juncture.
Presence of Rust
Look out for corroded steel.
Steel water tanks that are starting to corrode will create rust that seeps into the water. The rust leaves a telltale reddish brown tint everywhere it’s present. You may also notice rust around the tank. Sometimes the rust can be coming from other sources, such as old pipes that need replacing, so it’s necessary to trace any rust back to the water heater to be sure.
Have you already noticed some of these signs or heard from tenants in your property? We strongly caution you not to ignore these hints that something is amiss with your hot water heater. Call Calray Boilers at 212-722-5506, or use our easy online form to schedule an appointment. Don’t wait until you have a hot water emergency on your hands. Reach out today.