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Is Your Water Heater Ready to Call it Quits?

technician-serving-water-heaterThere’s something you should know about this time of year, especially if you have a water heater. No, we’re not about to warn you against frozen pipes—though that is a very real threat it’s unlikely to affect your water heater! But the cold winter air can have a negative impact on your water heater, especially if it’s aging. The chilliness causes the metal of your water heater tank to expand and contract, threatening the structure of the system.

Regardless of whether or not your water heater is old or new, one thing is for sure—this is a vital part of your overall Wilmette, IL plumbing system, and it needs to be taken care of properly through regular maintenance. Otherwise, you can find yourself facing a broken down water heater when you need it the most. Is your water heater about to call it quits? Keep reading for some common signs of a water heater in disrepair.

A Drop in Hot Water Output

Do you frequently take hour-long showers, or have members of your household running hot water at multiple locations in your home at the same time? Then the chances are, you’re going to overwhelm the water heater at some point.

But, it’s important to be aware that there is a big difference between overwhelming the system in this way and when the water heater just can’t generate enough energy output for even a moderate amount of demand.

If your water heater seems to have stopped generating water above a lukewarm temperature, it can certainly be a sign of a serious problem.

There are a variety of possible causes for this water heater problem. It could be that sediment has built up in the system—this is particularly likely in homes that suffer from significant hard water presence. As mineral deposits—calcium, magnesium, and even sometimes iron—settle to the bottom of the water heater tank, they eventually insulate the water inside the tank from the heat being generated by the burner assembly.

An alternative cause to this problem is that it’s something simple, such as the wrong temperature setting on the water heater itself. This would not be a life-ending problem for your water heater, of course, but ignoring any type of issue increases the chances of a total system shutdown. The best thing you can do is let a pro examine your water heater.

Sudden Temperature Fluctuations

Have you ever noticed the water coming from your hot water taps going from hot to cold and back again? There are a couple of possible things at play here. Most commonly, this kind of hot-cold-hot scenario is caused by a problem with the dip tube, which is a plastic tube that runs from the water line at the top of the tank to the bottom of the tank.

Fresh, cold water that enters the system runs through the tube in order to be heated closest to the burner assembly at the bottom. A broken or cracked dip tube can leak cold water into the hot water, which rises to the top, leaving cold water in the middle and causing this problem. Again, this isn’t an obvious sign that your water heater is going to call it quits, but ignoring the issue and letting it go certainly will help speed the end along.

For expert plumbing service, installations, or maintenance contact Reliance Plumbing Sewer & Drainage, Inc. Our knowledgeable plumbers serve the North Shore and Northwest Chicago suburbs. Rely on Reliance!

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