If you have an old gas hot water heater, you may wonder if it may be time to have it replaced. If so, look for the following early warning signs that your water heater is close to breaking down, requiring a new one to be installed.
Popping Noises Heard While Heating
One of the first early warning signs that you may notice is the sound of popping while the appliance is heating the water. The noise will resemble the sound of popcorn popping in a pan on the stove.
This popcorn noise starts happening when deposits form on the inside walls of the heater's tank. As the water heats up and comes into contact with these deposits, the reactions cause the sound. Eventually, these deposits will thicken and start breaking off, causing blockages inside the heater.
Burn Marks on the Tank Bottom's Exterior
Another sign that your hot water heater is starting to break down is the presence of burn marks on the exterior of the tank's bottom. These marks are caused by a ventilation problem within the heater.
If enough air is not circulating throughout the tank, the heat around the burner will become too hot. The flames will then burn higher, scorching the bottom of the tank.
As the metal of the tank breaks down from the heat, it will be exposed to the risk of corrosion. If the bottom becomes rusted, the tank will start to leak, causing water damage in your home.
Pilot Flame Burns Yellow
If you suspect there is a problem with your water heater, another thing to inspect is the color of the pilot flame. When the gas lines and couplet are clear, the pilot should burn blue. This blue color indicates that the right amount of gas is feeding the fire.
However, if you see that the pilot light is burning a bright yellow, this indicates that the gas supply is being interrupted. This problem could be within the gas lines feeding the water heater, or it could be caused by a malfunctioning thermocouple. Either way, you need to have a plumber inspect the problem as soon as you are able.
If your gas hot water heater is exhibiting one or more of the above signs, it is in danger of breaking down completely. Contact a plumber that offers water heater replacement services to discuss your options for having a new one installed.