Conventional water heaters are one of the most common repairs needed in homes and businesses in the Rancho Palos Verdes area. We know because we do them a lot. Our Rancho Palos Verdes plumbing service spends so much time doing water heater repair that our contractors often make friendly wagers on the number of water heater calls we'll get in a week. The sheer number of calls led us to put together a little checklist to help you determine what the problem with your water heater might be.
If you checked off any of these problems you probably need to call in a professional Rancho Palos Verdes plumbing team member to give your unit the once over.
If you checked rotten egg smell or popping sound the culprit is most likely your sacrificial anode sediment. When the sacrificial anode decays on the interior of the tank it combines with oxygen to create sediment that falls to the base of the tank. If this sediment isn't removed from the tank with a full system flush, this sediment build-up can cause bottom heated units to superheat the sediment and cause instant boiling at the top of the sediment layer. A rotten egg smell is a sign that there is bacteria living in the sediment layer of the water heater. Again a flush would have prevented this and can still be rectified with a water heater flush or a peroxide treatment.
Rusty water is a sign that the sacrificial anode has failed (or been used up completely) and needs to be replaced. This is only true when you are using hot or warm water. If you are running cold water and it is coming out rusty, the problem is not with your water heater. You'll need to have a professional Rancho Palos Verdes plumber diagnose the cause.
If you checked a temperature issue it is probably related to the thermostat in one way or another. The thermostat is the number one cause of water heater failure. It may also be a failing internal electric heater coil (this would be accompanied by the hissing sound) or a faulty gas pilot light valve.
Rattling pipes generally are a sign that there is a pressure issue in your pipe system. When the hot water is released into the system and the pipes might rattle if they are not properly secured.
Condensation on the outside of the tank is a sign that you don't have enough insulation between the hot water on the inside of the tank and air in the room. Adding an insulated sleeve around the tank can prevent this. This can cause water to pool beneath the tank. Pooling can also be caused by the T&P valve releasing high heat or high pressure water to prevent the water heater from exploding.