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3 Signs Your Water Heater Is About To Leak

It’s inevitable- your water heater will someday leak. We receive the call every day from frustrated homeowners in the Boston area that woke up to no hot water and a mess in the basement. What can be done? Look for these 3 signs that your water heater may be on the fritz!

1) Age:
If your water heater is past its warranty, it should be replaced immediately. If your water heater is a tank-type storage tank, it was designed to fail– usually a few days after the warranty in most cases. Water heaters, after manufacturing, are sent to testing facilities where they endure accelerated lifecycles. Engineers can mimic 10 years of regular use in under 1 month- so believe us- they know exactly how long they are supposed to last. Walk into your local home-store and look at the water heaters; they sell a 3 year, 6 year, 9 year & 12 year tank- each with an appropriately-sized “sacrificial anode rod” to resist corrosion and protect the tank.
2) Reduced Output & Discolored Water:
Are you getting less hot water from your tank than you did last week? Your tank will fail rapidly once it reaches the end. Many homeowners mistake this symptom as an indicator to raise the tank temperature. If you find that your water is discolored, smelly or full of sediment or debris, your tank’s inner steel liner is now exposed because the minerals have eaten away the ceramic/glass lining, and tank failure is just around the corner.

3) Visual Inspection:
Take a look at your water heater from time to time, and you may begin to notice unusual conditions. When the base of your tank begins to show “scorching” or soot, your burner is starting to fail. If the “tappings” at the top of your tank, or anywhere along the tank’s jacket show corrosion, your tank is probably close to leaking.

Top 5 Things To Do In A Plumbing Emergency

No one likes plumbing problems. They always come up when you least expect them, and often homeowners aren’t prepared to handle them. Here are a few tips to help you deal with plumbing emergencies that may arise in your Boston home.

1. Don’t Panic. Few, if any, emergency situations are improved by panicking. If you can’t think clearly, your chances of making a bad or slow decision increase. It’s also more likely that the damage will be more severe. You’ll need to act decisively and carefully and you can’t do that if you’re panicked.
2. Stop the water. Stop any flowing water as soon as humanly possible. When you’re dealing with a clogged drain, a broken valve, a broken pipe, a split hose, a blocked toilet or something similar, you’ll need to get the water to stop moving first. That may mean plunging a toilet or sink, shutting off a faucet, stopping an appliance, closing the main water shutoff or a secondary valve. Do what it takes to stop the water. If you skipped Step #1 and are panicking, you can always call the Fire Department to assist in a water shutdown.
A note: water and electricity never mix. If you have a standing water problem, or water that is dripping on or near an outlet, electrical appliance, your breaker box or fuse box, cut the electricity to the affected circuits, or pull the main breaker- but only if you know it is safe to do so.
3. Examine the problem area carefully. Take a good look at what’s happened and try to figure out what’s causing the emergency. Sometimes, the problem will be obvious. Clogged drains and broken pipes aren’t hard to spot. In other cases, the problem may be evident, but you may not have the tools you need to clear the problem. You may have no idea what’s gone wrong or even where the problem is. If you cannot find the problem, or you know what the problem is but lack the tools or expertise to repair it, contact us at Boston Standard Plumbing. We can respond to emergencies quickly, diagnose your problem and get your plumbing back in working order.
4. Identify and correct the problem. Identify the problem and fix it permanently. Don’t settle for a “temporary” repair without having a plan in place for a permanent fix.
5. Remediate the damage. Plumbing emergencies almost always do damage to your home. The damage could be environmental, cosmetic or structural. Environmental damage is easiest to clean up if you act quickly and may involve nothing more than drying or cleaning the wet area. Wastewater spills deserve special treatment with disinfectants because wastewater is a health hazard.
Dry up any standing water. Dry out carpets, walls, and wood that may have gotten wet. Use fans to circulate the air. Space heaters, used according to manufacturer’s instructions, can also help evaporate moisture. Replace drywall, carpeting, tile, flooring, and insulation that have gotten soaked.