Your water heater can work quietly for years and never need repairs. However, when something goes wrong with the heater, you could have a plumbing emergency to contend with. Here's a look at two times when you'll want to call a plumber for help right away.
Water Leaking From a Rusty Area on the Tank
It's possible for a water heater to rust when it ages. Rust is a problems because it eats holes in metal. When a water heater rusts, it has to be replaced since the damaged metal can't be repaired safely. If you notice rusty areas on the heater, call a plumber to install a new heater as soon as you can. If a hole develops and water starts dripping out, you may need an emergency plumbing visit to get the situation under control before you have water damage to deal with.
When the heater starts leaking, hot water could flood your home and ruin your flooring and other belongings. It's best to have the heater replaced before the rust damage gets too bad, because once you've got a leak on your hands, you have a plumbing emergency that needs quick action. The important thing is to stop the water, and that might entail the plumber draining the tank outside or in a drain so the water doesn't flood your house. Then, you'll be without hot water until the plumber can install your new heater.
A Stuck or Leaking Pressure Relief Valve
The pressure relief valve on your water heater is a safety feature that releases pressure so your hot water heater doesn't blow up. Because this issue can be so dangerous, if you're concerned about the safety of your water heater because of trouble with the pressure relief valve, then call an emergency plumber to take a look at the problem.
The valve is in place because pressure builds in the tank when the temperature gets hotter than it's supposed to. When pressure builds, it can cause the water heater to explode if the pressure isn't released through the valve. You should check the valve regularly to make sure it's functioning properly. If you try to open it and it's stuck, or if you open it and then can't close it, that could be a sign of worn parts or scale buildup. That could mean the valve isn't working and it needs to be replaced right away.
If you happen to notice water dripping from the valve, that could mean the temperature and pressure are too high in the tank. A plumber should check this problem to find out the source of the issue and make repairs so your water heater isn't a hazard.
Fortunately, most problems with hot water heaters aren't emergencies. If you keep your heater in good repair, check the valve regularly, and flush out sediment periodically, your heater may last for many years and not cause a plumbing emergency in your home.
If you do require emergency plumbing services, call a plumber you trust in your area.