Dealing with Water Heater Failure What You Need to Know

23 Mar by Will Kruse

Dealing with Water Heater Failure What You Need to Know

Your water heater provides hot water for various household purposes such as bathing, cooking, and cleaning. However, like any other appliance, water heaters can fail or malfunction, causing inconvenience and disruption to your daily routine.

Knowing how to deal with water heater failure is vital to avoid further damages, expenses, and safety hazards.

The following sections discuss the common causes of water heater failure, signs of a failing water heater, and what to do in case of a water heater failure.

Common Causes of Water Heater Failure

Understanding the common causes of water heater failure can help homeowners identify potential issues before they become major problems.

  • Age: Water heaters have a lifespan of about 10-15 years. Over time, the tank can corrode and develop leaks, causing the water heater to fail.
  • Sediment Build-Up: Minerals such as calcium and magnesium can gather at the bottom of the tank, causing the tank to overheat and fail.
  • Inadequate Maintenance: Lack of regular maintenance, such as flushing and cleaning the tank, can lead to sediment build-up and other issues that can cause the water heater to fail.
  • Electrical or Gas Issues: Faulty electrical or gas connections can cause the water heater to malfunction or fail.

Signs of a Failing Water Heater

It can be frustrating to realize that your water heater is not functioning properly. Fortunately, there are several signs that can indicate a failing water heater.

Identifying these signs early can help you address the issue and prevent further damage or safety hazards.

  • No Hot Water: A defective heating element, a malfunctioning thermostat, or a damaged gas valve could all be to blame if your water heater suddenly stops producing hot water.
  • Strange Noises: If you hear gurgling, popping, or banging noises coming from your water heater, it could indicate sediment build-up or a failing heating element.
  • Leaks: If you see water gathering around your water heater, there may be a leak in the tank or a problem with the pressure relief valve.
  • Rusty Water: If your hot water has a rusty or brown color, it could indicate rusting inside the tank, which is a sign of a failing water heater.

What to Do in Case of a Water Heater Failure

  1. Turn Off the Power: disconnect the electricity at the breaker box if your water heater is electric. Shut down the gas supply if your water heater is powered by gas.
  1. Shut Off the Water: To stop further leaks, close the water heater’s water supply valve.
  1. Drain the Tank: Drain the water from the tank by securing a hose to the drain valve at the bottom.
  1. Call a Professional: Contact a licensed plumber or HVAC technician to inspect the water heater and determine the cause of the failure. They can also provide you with repair or replacement options.
  1. Consider Replacement: If your water heater is more than ten to fifteen years old, it may be time to replace it with a new, energy-efficient model. A professional can help you choose the best option for your home and budget.


Dealing with a water heater failure can be stressful and inconvenient. However, knowing the common causes and signs of a failing water heater, as well as what to do in case of a failure, can help you avoid further damages, expenses, and safety hazards.

Regular maintenance and timely repairs can also prolong the lifespan of your water heater and ensure that it provides hot water when you need it.

Trust L.J. Kruse Co. for your water heater repair in Berkeley! We’re a family-owned and -operated plumbing, heating, and cooling company, serving residential and commercial clients. Call us right away for immediate assistance!

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