What Does Discolored Hot Water Mean for My Water Heater?

What Does Discolored Hot Water Mean for My Water Heater?When dealing with discolored hot water, there are several things to consider. Corrosion is often the killer of hot water heaters if they haven’t been properly maintained. This is particularly true of galvanized corrosion and rust, both of which can ruin your water heater. 

It’s important to check the age of your hot water heater and when it was last maintained. Ideally, it should be flushed yearly, so that corrosion can’t build up. When minerals build up at the bottom of your tank, heat transfer is hampered, and your unit has to work much harder. Also, it’s best to set your thermostat at 120 degrees. Why? Water that’s hotter than 120 degrees is more acidic and corrodes electrodes, making discolored hot water more likely.

If your water is orange-brown, it probably contains galvanic rust. Galvanized iron plumbing creates rusty to dark brown water. If you’ve recently purchased your water heater and have copper or plastic supply lines, it may not be your tank at all, but a problem with the public water supply. Turn on the cold water tap. If it’s discolored, your water heater is not at fault. When properly maintained, a water heater can serve your family for 10 to 15 years.

To determine if your hot water heater is nearing the end of its life, here are a few signs to watch out for:

  • Water temperature fluctuations
  • Heavy sediment or dirt deposits
  • Strange banging noises
  • Visible corrosion on the bottom of your tank
  • Takes too long to warm up

Cloudiness in your hot water can also be an ominous sign that bacteria is growing in your tank. Furthermore, a rotten egg odor might indicate that sulfate-reducing bacteria is at work. If this odor is present, it’s best to have your water tested by a professional.

From Sterling Heights to Grosse Pointe, Aladdin Heating & Air Conditioning has been serving homeowners since 1945. Please contact us with all of your HVAC needs.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Warren, Michigan about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about water heaters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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