Even the best boilers don’t last forever. How do you know if your hot water boiler is failing? Look for these tell-tale signs.
The average household hot water boiler system lasts between 8 and 12 years. The lifespan varies based on the unit, how often it gets serviced, and the quality of the water passing through it.
That doesn’t mean that things can’t and won’t go wrong before your water heater dies completely. If you think your system has an issue, trust your gut and keep reading to learn seven obvious signs that your gas or electric water heater is failing.
Pay attention to these signs so that you can repair it rather than having to install a new hot water boiler.
1. It’s Making Strange Sounds
Most gas and electric hot water boilers make some sort of noise while running. If yours doesn’t, you’re one of the lucky ones! Start paying attention if you hear your system making loud rattling or banging noises.
Buildup in the heater’s water storage tank or a faulty heating element could be to blame. This puts stress on the whole system and causes it to run less efficiently.
Regular hot water boiler service inspections and flushes go a long way to prevent this from happening.
2. Smells Like Rotten Eggs
Do you own a gas hot water boiler? Have you noticed a sulphury or rotten egg smell around your hot water system? This could be the sign of a corroded magnesium anode or a dangerous gas leak.
Gas leaks put your home at serious risk of a fire or explosion. It also significantly increases your gas bill, which is another way to catch a leak.
Do not ignore that rotten egg smell! A corroded anode can kill your whole boiler system. And, if it is a gas leak, the longer you wait to have it addressed, the greater the chance of it catching fire.
3. The Tank Leaks
A pool of water collecting under your hot water tank does not always mean it’s failed. However, you definitely need to address it right away. Catching a small leak means you can often get the issue repaired instead of having to buy a whole new hot water boiler system.
Own an electric hot water boiler? A leak collecting around the bottom of your machine could become electrified. This puts you and your family at risk of electric shock!
Take care of the problem quickly to keep everyone safe.
4. Water Temperature Issues
Water that’s warm, but never hot could be the sign of a failing heating element in your hot water boiler. It could also be the thermostat.
While checking the thermostat, make sure the temperature is set to 120-140°F otherwise the water will not get hot enough. If you find yourself replacing the thermostat more than once in a short period of time, that could indicate a failing boiler.
What about your water going cold faster than normal? That’s a sure sign of your hot water heater failing.
5. Brown or Rusty-Colored Water
The water coming from your tap should always be clear. If you notice brown or rust-colored water, you can bet your hot water boiler is trending toward failure.
Metal anodes inside of the boiler help keep your tank structurally sound. However, they will rust over time and need to be replaced. You should replace them about every 5 years to prevent the tank from beginning to rust also.
Once the tank begins to rust, water coming from the boiler turns brownish-red. It won’t kill you, but it’s unpleasant to drink and use. Also, the rusted tank runs the risk of splitting and spilling water everywhere.
6. Sediment or Metal Debris
The water should also never look like it has bits of sand, dirt, or metal floating in it. Over time, solid materials settle at the bottom of the hot water tank and create a build-up of sediment. Sometimes you can flush the system, but it may need complete replacing.
Metal bits floating in the water or a metallic taste imply a breakdown inside of the metal tank. There’s no real chance of repair, so prepare to buy a whole new hot water boiler tank.
7. Yellow Pilot Light
Finally, if you own a gas hot water heater rather than an electric one, you need to keep an eye on the pilot light.
When working correctly, the hot water heater’s pilot flame is blue. A yellow pilot light indicates the system does not have enough oxygen to combust the gas properly. If not addressed, it can be deadly.
The yellow flame shows you that the gas is not fully combusting and may produce carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can poison you quickly. Symptoms include confusion, dizziness, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Carbon monoxide can even kill in extreme cases.
Reliable Hot Water Boiler Repair in Omaha, Nebraska
Catching issues with your hot water boiler before it completely dies helps you save money by repairing instead of replacing. It also prevents any dangerous situations like an electrical shock, carbon monoxide poisoning, or explosions.
Looking to schedule regular maintenance or an inspection of your hot water boiler system in Omaha, Nebraska, or surrounding areas?
You need to contact Eyman Plumbing Heating & Air, Omaha’s most reliable repair service since 1957. Eyman offers 24/7 emergency plumbing repair in Omaha if your boiler problem is too big to fix alone.
Give Eyman a call today at (402) 731-2727 to schedule an inspection or repair!