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Why Water Heaters Fail

August 31, 2018

Expert Plumbing Tips For Your Hot Water Heater From Mesa Plumbing Specialists

It’s the middle of winter, you wake up to take a shower and after you wait your typical 30 seconds for the water to warm up, you get half way in and it’s still ICE COLD. What do you do? How can you prevent your water heater breaking down? Not only are you unable to shower because there is no hot water but the dishwasher will not clean and sanitize the dishes as expected without hot water. “Of all times, why did the heater stop working now?” To answer the question with the short answer, a lot of reasons. Here is an infographic to illustrate but read on below it:


What is the Average Water Heater Lifespan?

While it is true that water heaters are being built better than years past, water heaters do have a set life span. A capable plumber can show you the signs of an aging water hear and what you can do should damage occur. Electric and gas water heaters have a lifespan of eight (8) to twelve (12) years with our hard water here in the Phoenix metro area. Tankless water heaters can have a lifespan up to 20 years. If you start hearing noises, see water pooling around the base of the tank or you are wasting an excessive amount of water waiting for the hot water to arrive at the tap, all of these should be taken as cues for the need to hire a Mesa plumbing contractor.

That being said, rust, calcification and lime build up in any shape or form that is either inside or outside the heater as well as its pipes and valves is a sign that it will eventually break down. These minerals in our water do not mix, leading to an unpleasant taste and feel to our Arizona water, which shortens the lifespan of your water heater. Sometimes water heater failure results in corrosion to the heating element. While yearly flushing of the water heater tank can help, it may not be enough. Arizona’s water is very hard and leads to corrosion. Installing an environmentally safe water treatment system is a great method of preventing your water from decaying the internal parts of your water heater.

Why Did My Mesa Home Water Heater Fail? 

Another reason why heaters fail is due to leaks. Leak repair should be completed immediately. Yes, even slow leaks aka pin hole leaks. An obvious sign that something is wrong, water leaking at the inlet or outlet portions. Have a professional plumber inspect the heater for the source of the leak. Tightening and adjusting the fittings/connections could be a solution for it to stop as well as checking the pipe pressure. Too much pressure damages the water tanks flow. Ideal water pressure should be at least 80 psi up to a maximum of 145 psi when hot.

One major cause of water heater failure is how the heating element separates the minerals from the water itself. This happens typically at the bottom of the heater tank as the elements heat the water then pressure causes them to break off the element itself and then the sediment collects at the bottom causing further corrosion. Once the sediments build up, this only accelerates corrosion as it will all accumulate and this affects the performance of the heater as only the top heating element in the tank is heating. After a while this extra strain will cause it to fail as well. A drain cleaning and inspection should be done on a regular basis. Briefly mentioned before, another way to keep your hot water heater in great condition longer is to perform a regular hot water heater flushing, which is something that you can do yourself or hire a plumber to do. 

When To Start Looking For Water Heater Repair In Mesa? 

An often overlooked consideration is the environment outside of the water heater and is very important. If your home is equipped with a natural gas water heater certain precautions must be taken. In this case, good ventilation is essential because it helps draw in air from to the appliance. Common sense says not to place anything flammable around the base of the tank. However there are commonly found chemicals in the garage that can be flammable. It is best to make sure that any toxic, caustic or oil based cleaners and substances are not stored near the heater. 

What Can I Do About My Broken Water Heater? 

One final consideration, the size of the tank must match the size of your family. This incompatibility with usage will cause the heater to run excessively and put unnecessary wear and tear on the internal components of the tank itself. When considering water heater replacement make sure you discuss how much hot water you believe your family uses. Bathing, washing clothes and dishwashers all use hot water. Consider that you may use it at minimum of three times a day in different areas of the house by different people. On an economic standpoint, getting the appropriate-sized heater for your household means that you will not pay the excess of either wasted electricity or lack of water. In the long-term, this move saves you energy and cost this is where a hot water recirculation pump will cut down on electricity and water usage by not having to run the tap wasting 100’s of gallons annually waiting for the water to “heat up”. For expert plumbing in your area, check out


Whitton Plumbing
49 N Mesa Dr Mesa, AZ 85201
(480) 291-1111


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