Popping noise, brownish water or low temperature? A number of visual and auditory signs can indicate your hot water system not working, and these are usually noticeable a while in advance before the actual system failure occurs. In the following, we are listing four common signs to watch out for, so you can easily avoid a complete system shutdown. If you’re already know your hot water system is not functioning as it should, please contact us immediately or visit our dedicated Hot Water Plumber Melbourne & Hot Water Repairs pages.

#1 Low Water Temperature Coming From A Hot Water System Not Working Properly

Whether you find yourself regularly having to adjust the thermostat on your hot water tank due to inefficient temperature, or you notice the system having issues at producing any hot water, it might indicate your water heater is about to give in. If you seem to only have cold water or lukewarm/warm water that never gets hot enough, you may get away with troubleshooting as replacing a broken heating element could solve the problem. However, if the issue roots in the failure of the entire system, such as serious corrosion, sediment build-up or damage caused by excessive water pressure, it’s time to call a pro. Good maintenance and watching out for such signs are key to avoiding a sudden shutdown and having to go without hot water.

#2 Strange Regular Noises From Pipes

Hot water tanks are supposedly silent appliances, thus any rumbling, banging or popping noise coming from them is a tell-tale sign of some sort of failure. Such noises mostly occur due to mineral build-up from hard water or a broken heating element, both of which can easily be prevented through regular maintenance checks. If the issue is caused by said sediment build-up, we recommend investing in a water softener to elongate your water heater’s life expectancy and improve its overall efficiency.
Another case is if you have a high-efficiency or sealed combustion water heater instead of a standard atmospheric one. These appliances function with an attached blower motor, being more likely to produce some sounds. However, if you find your water heater being especially loud, that might indicate the motor is about to fail, shutting down the whole heating system. The good news is that such a problem can be solved by replacing the motor – which is, however, likely to come at relatively high costs.

#3 The Colour, Smell or Taste of Water.

It comes as no surprise that water flowing out of the tap is ideally crystal clear, with no colour or bad smell. Discoloured, muddy or cloudy hot water can indicate either a failure of your water heater or a more complex issue, such as corroded pipes. In the first case, a maintenance check with a plumber can easily solve the problem and fix your hot water system not working!
However, a change in colour is not the only sign of a system failure: a metallic smell or taste of your water might also indicate some further issues. Bacteria growing in your hot water system can lead to a seriously unpleasant smell similar to that of sewage, or, in case of sulfur-producing bacteria being present, the produced water may smell like rotten eggs. Because such contamination is most likely to occur in water heaters with magnesium rods in them, replacing these with a professional plumber could mean the ultimate solution. However, if the issue is not rooted in the material of the rods, a quick-fix through sanitizing the system might bring relief, according to the Ohio State University Extension. Setting your heater’s thermostat to a high temperature, ideally above 60 °C for a few hours “cooks” the bacteria, which you should remove by flushing this hot water from the tank afterward.

#4 Dripping or Leaking Water

Water on the floor around your heater tank indicates leaking – what really matters in such situation is to find out where it comes from. If water leaks from the bottom of the tank, that, unfortunately, is an obvious sign of your heater about to fail. it also indicates an internal leak through airline cracks on the tubes inside the heater or on the tank itself. When this happens, you’re going to need to replace the water heater.
The amount of water seen near the heater is also important: some simple condensation is considered normal, especially in case of a high-efficiency water heater. However, if you notice a significant amount of water or condensation, that shows the presence of excess steam which the pressure valve is venting. While a slow drip of such condensed steam is normal, a larger volume of water coming from the valve or other parts of the heater calls for professional maintenance. We suggest you to never try to fix a valve that’s broken or under excess steam pressure. It could lead to serious accidents, including your water heater exploding – always call a trained plumber to solve such issues.
You can also have a look at our easy-to-follow guide to repair hot water systems! Do not hesitate to give us a call if you need any help!