How to Spot Water Heater Damage and Find out The Cause

Published On: August 25, 20210 Comments on How to Spot Water Heater Damage and Find out The CauseTags: , Last Updated: February 5, 20242.8 min read

Who doesn’t dread a water heater emergency? Going without hot water is frustrating, especially when the temperatures drop. Routine checks and maintenance service helps to keep the appliance in top shape and avoid emergencies. Water heaters fail, and apart from cold water, you could be dealing with other problems such as leaks, water damage, and secondary concerns like mold infestation.

How to Spot Water Heater Damage and Find out The Cause

As such, being on the lookout for telltales shouldn’t be overlooked. Let’s look at how you can spot water heater damage and find out what’s causing it.

Cold water

The most apparent sign that your water heater needs attention is getting cold or lukewarm water. It takes longer to get hot water from the tap, a sign of a barrier between the water and the burner. The most common problem leading to cold water is minerals buildup and internal rust. Check the anodes; while they last long, annual checks help spot wear and replace them before an emergency hits.


Rumbling, creaking, or popping noises shouldn’t be discounted, as it is a sign that the water heater failure is around the corner. The common issue that causes the noise is pockets of air boiling along with the water. The main cause is sediment buildup on the surface of the water heater. As water heats, minerals deposits separate and settle on the water heater tank’s bottom. The buildup acts as a barrier, affecting the heater’s efficiency, and if left unattended, causes significant damage. The problem is prevalent where hard water is used. The easiest way to avoid the buildup is flushing the water heater regularly, typically once a year.

How to Spot Water Heater Damage and Find out The Cause - water heater


Leaking water tanks or leaky/faulty pressure relief valves are considerable issues that could cause more than water heater damage. For instance, leaks from the tans could flood your property. Cracks and fractures cause leaks from the tank. If it is from a pressure relief valve, it could be caused by overheating or excessive pressure from the tank. This can be rectified by a pro. If the leaks result from a faulty pressure valve, you’ll only need to replace the part. Leaks from the tank can be stopped by shutting the water supply to fix the issue. The damage is usually the inner lining due to corrosion or age. There is no repair to this, and you’ll need to replace the water heater tank.

Metallic taste/smell

Does your water look cloudy and exudes a metallic taste and smell? This is a sign that a significant mineral buildup is traveling out of the water heater. The mineral deposits affect more than the water heater, as they could cause clogging, affecting the water flow. If you spot a reddish/cloudy orange color, it is an indication that the tank and/or house pipes are rusty. Replacing the tank and the pipes is the best fix, ensuring that the buildup doesn’t extend to the point of causing leaks.

Keeping your water heater in top shape is better than waiting for breakdowns. Emergencies can be costly, yet they can be avoided through timely replacements to keep the system at its best. Stay sharp, and once you notice a sign, call a pro for a thorough check.

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