Dangers of a water heater and their warning signs

A water heater is one of the most frequently used appliances in a home. As well as one of the most forgotten about in terms of maintenance. The dangers of a water heater that has not been regularly maintained are deleterious.

However, regular maintenance does not guarantee that the dangers of a water heater disappear. Know and check for warning signs that there is a problem.

These warning signs help prevent the dangers of a water heater from happening only when noticed and is tended to right away.

Dangers of a water heater gas leak

If you have a gas water heater, the smell of rotten eggs is an indication that there is a gas leak. Immediately turn the gas off by the shut off valve located along the pipe that carries gas to water heater. This will prevent gas from coming in contact with the ignition flame and causing a fire. You will need to hire a plumber to locate and repair the gas leak.

Carbon Monoxide poisoning from gas water heater

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas making it hard to detect without a carbon monoxide detector or an inspection by a professional. Often times people learn they have a leak by needing to seek medical attention for symptoms such as headache, dizziness, shortness of breathe, confusion, and loss of consciousness. And yes the leak could very well be from a gas water heater. For reasons like improper installation, failure to maintain and not having proper ventilation in area surrounding water heater. A plumber can locate and repair the leak as well as recommend to have a carbon monoxide detector installed.

Faulty pressure valves

A water heaters pressure valve helps regulate pressure build up that is caused by rising water temperatures. A faulty pressure valve is the most common issue found when diagnosing a water heater issue. Leaving a faulty pressure valve unrepaired will cause leaks, flooding of home, and possibly even tank to rupture.  Avoid the dangers of a water heater faulty pressure valve by testing every 6 months and replacing every 5 years.

Danger of water heater leaks

The more serious danger of water heater leaks is finding water on the floor around the base of water heater. As this is a sign the tanks inner lining is cracked or fractured. Meaning that the water heater will have to be replaced. And failing to do so risks your whole house flooding. Water on top of your water heater near the piping is also a sign of a leak. Most times these minor leaks can be repaired without leaving much damage. It’s important to always have a plumber install and repair your water heater.

Dangers of water heater making popping sounds

Popping sounds coming from your water heater indicates sediment build up on burner (gas) or heating elements (electric). Water that gets between



the heating source and the sediments create this noise as it heats and moves through sediments. The heat source is having to work harder to heat water and will eventually burn out, if not repaired. Therefore leaving you without hot water until the heating source is repaired by a plumber.

Finding rust on tank or in water



Most water heaters are equipped with an anode rod that draws in any rust before it reaches the tank. The anode rod is normally accessible at the top of water heater and should be changed every 5 years to prevent failure. But just like with anything else you should always expect for the unexpected. Therefore knowing the dangers of a water heater rusting is important. Rust can occur externally or internally. external rust around the bottom of water heater indicates having a leak or location being damp. Rust on the top of water heater is prove of a past or a current leak even if you do not see one. However, a slow leak can easily go unseen. If you suspect your water heater is leak it’s best to have a plumber do an inspection. Internal rust presents itself by flakes appearing in your water or brownish colored water. 

Being observant of this warning signs and regular maintenance of your water heater helps avoid a pricey mishap. Furthermore, always have a licensed plumber do any repair or installation of a water heater.