We see a common problem in many homes, especially older ones: hot water simply does not last. It doesn’t last, especially through a shower – when it counts the most.
But in those key (freezing) moments, homeowners can’t help but wonder why this keeps happening and what can be done about it.
Is this something I can repair myself?
How much will this cost?
Is it a quick fix?
Will I need to replace my water heater soon?
As a busy homeowner, we know that you count on all of your home’s appliances and systems working correctly each time you need them. But there might be several reasons why your water heating unit isn’t quite performing the way it should. We’ll explore a few of those below.
Why Isn’t My Water Heater Working?
At Dixie Electric, Plumbing & Air, we’ve seen our fair share of water heater problems. And for most of us, warm water is essential to our daily comfort and everyday tasks! Most of the time, issues arise in water heaters when they reach a certain age.
The majority of water heaters have a lifespan of eight to twelve years. However, most homeowners aren’t aware of when a water heater hits their age limit. Therefore, it’s important to be able to recognize some of the signs that indicate it’s time to replace your water heater.
Culprit #1: Sediment Build-Up
Minerals are in the water we drink, use, and bathe in. Usually, these minerals, such as magnesium and calcium, can build up over time. As water heats, some of the usually-dissolved minerals start to accumulate and become a layer of sediment at the bottom of the water heater.
Over time, this can impact the amount of hot water available to you over a given task: whether that’s washing dishes or running a bath for your children.
How Do I Know If I Have A Sediment Issue?
- When drained, you see the sediment coming out of the water heater.
- You hear unusual sounds, such as knocking or popping.
Culprit #2: Bad Heating Element
Most electric water heaters have two heating elements – one at the top and one at the bottom. These heaters help keep a consistent level of hot water throughout the tank. If one or the other is damaged somehow, there’s a noticeable drop in the amount of hot water available.
What Causes A Damaged Heating Element?
- Sediment (see above) sometimes causes elements to overheat and become damaged.
- There is a faulty thermostat in your unit.
Culprit #3: A Damaged Dip Tube
Cold water moves to the bottom of your tank to get heated, and, as hot water rises back to the top of the tank, you should have a virtually endless supply of hot water – all thanks to the dip tube, which pushes colder water down.
However, as your water heater ages, these tubes may crumble, eventually breaking off and falling to the bottom of the tank. A defective dip tube ensures colder water remains at the top, lowering the overall temperature of the water in your tank.
What Would Cause A Dip Tube To Become Damaged?
- If the part reaches the end of its lifespan.
- If the dip tube is faulty, to begin with.
Are You Worried About Your Water Heater?
If reading about these issues causes you to become concerned about the performance of your water heater, it might be time to bring in a professional. Water heater repair can often be a delicate task, with some electrical skills required at times.
If you make the wrong move in repairing it yourself, it could become quite costly – not to mention, make your family sit through endless cold baths and showers!
When you become worried about your water heater, especially if the unit is over ten years old, it’s time to Call Dixie.
Our technicians have the know-how to diagnose any minor problems before they become major ones and talk you through the options you have. We can even talk to you about newer options in water heater technology, such as tankless water heaters.