Homeowners in Wichita, KS see Comfort Systems as their all-important, go-to resource for all their HVAC, plumbing, and heating needs. We value that trust which is why we provide 24/7 emergency service and a can-do attitude that has kept us going strong throughout our 28-year history. In winter – when Wichita temperatures can go well below 30 Fahrenheit – we’re often asked to resolve urgent issues with hot water pipes and tanks.

Our customers are very good at preparing for winter. They’ll shut off outside hoses, insulate their pipes, unclog drains, and weatherstrip their doors and windows. However, even the most proactive customer can’t overcome pipes or a hot water tank that needs replacing. The ideal situation is to replace the pipes and tank before winter strikes, but what are the signs that one or both need replacing?

1. No Hot Water

This one is obvious. One day you’re taking a nice shower and suddenly – seemingly out of nowhere – the hot water stops. One second, you’re comfortable and the next you’re jolted by bitterly cold water. Naturally, you’ll try to wait a bit, but it doesn’t improve.

Minor issues like a blown fuse, a stuck pressure valve, a damaged heating element, or a dislodged fitting are often easily resolved. However, it might just be that your hot water tank is nearing its end of life. Over time, water heaters are slowed down by excess sediment which builds up at the base of the tank. They become less efficient and eventually unable to heat water.

2. Brown, Yellow and Rust-Colored Water

Another obvious sign is if you notice any brownish-yellow or rust-colored water any time you turn on a faucet. While it doesn’t immediately mean your water tank needs replacing, it probably means there is some corrosion somewhere. It could be coming from your pipes, the tank itself, or your tank’s anode, which is a metal rod inside your tank.

If you notice rust in and around the base of your water tank, then it could pose a problem. This is because corrosion eats away at the metal both inside and outside the tank. Ultimately, your tank may be so corroded that it needs replacing. If there is no rust around the tank – but you do notice it on your pipes – then the pipes will likely need to be replaced.

3. Leaks

Whether it’s your pipes or your water tank, leaks must be dealt with immediately. The older your water tank, the harder it must work to heat your water. Large deposits or pools of water around your water heater – or large fissures leaking water from your pipes – are a guaranteed sign that there’s a fracture, puncture, or crack.

Regardless of what’s causing the leak, immediately turn off the water heater and valve.

4. Loud Noises

A malfunctioning water tank sometimes makes loud clanking, cracking, or banging noises. It almost sounds as if someone is pushing it back and forth, and it’s being raised off the ground and allowed to fall back into place. Sometimes it appears as if something is rattling inside your pipes. This is especially the case if you hear or see your pipes vibrating excessively. The anode or another part could be dislodged within the tank, or something could be in the pipe obstructing it.

5. Your Water Heater and Pipes are Old

Sometimes, it’s just a matter of your water heater reaching the end of its journey. If you find you’re constantly having to pay for service calls on an old water heater, then it’s likely nearing the end. A well-made water heater can last up to 12 years, but anything beyond that most likely needs replacing.

In terms of pipes, older homes used older materials. These materials were eventually phased out. Iron, steel, galvanized pipes and even lead pipes were commonly used before the 1970s and 1960s. If you own an old house and have older pipes, they may need replacing.

Winter-Proof Your Water Heater and Pipes With Comfort Systems

At Comfort Systems, our dedicated team of HVAC technicians and plumbers is committed to helping you prepare for the cold of winter. Long before it arrives, book a consultation with us and we’ll be more than happy to check your water heater and pipes.

If you are concerned about your water heater and pipes and would like a professional opinion, contact us now.