There are two different hot water systems that you may be familiar with: one is for heating the home, and the other is for domestic hot water that you use to shower, do laundry, wash dishes, etc. Those two systems act completely separate from one another. The system that heats your home can make alarming noises that might make you think that your water heater is going bad. Keep in mind that it’s a different system.
The next thing you should know about domestic hot water is that you can generally sense when there’s a sign of failure. Inconsistent temperatures are a good example. If your shower water is hot one day and cold the next (or vise-versa), that’s typically a sign of the water heater failing. If the performance of your water heater goes down and you notice that you don’t have as much hot water as you used to, that’s another sign of water heater failure. If you hear a crackling or rumbling sound (depending on whether it’s gas or electric), it could be a sign of buildup in the heater.
You also might want to take a look at your water heater every now and again. They are usually located in the basement or somewhere that’s out of sight, out of mind. But it’s a good idea to pay attention and check for water marks or leak marks. The worst thing that could happen is if a hole burst, which could cause a flood wherever it’s located and lead to damaged property.
There are some sounds that might be scary but aren’t a cause for concern. Sometimes you might hear a creaking or thumping sound when you first turn on the warm shower water and let it warm up (or right after you finish showering). That noise can be common, especially in older homes, and it’s nothing to be alarmed about. One of the pipes might be rubbing up against a piece of wood. When the hot water runs through it, it causes the pipe to expand and make noise.
If you’re experiencing decreased water heater performance or you hear a noise indicating that something is wrong, contact us online or give us a call at 540-483-9382. We’ll visit your home and maximize the life of your water heating system.