Can You Fix a Cracked Water Heater?

by Jessica Sawyer | Water Heaters

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A water heater is one of the most essential appliances in any home or business. There’s just nothing that matches the comfort and convenience of having hot water available on demand, especially when it comes to shower and cleaning time. So, what are you supposed to do if it develops a crack? Can you fix a cracked water heater? Or will you be stuck with cold water until you find a replacement?

In this blog post, we’re going to explore the issue of cracked water heaters. We’ll talk about the causes, signs and symptoms, the dangers of ignoring the problem, and whether or not you can replace them. We’ll also give you some practical tips for maintaining your water heater to prevent future issues.

Causes of a Cracked Water Heater

Cracks in water heaters don’t just appear out of nowhere (at least, not usually). There are a few common culprits:

Age and Wear

One of the most common reasons for a cracked water heater is simply age. Like many other appliances in your home or business, wear and tear can take their toll on the unit over time.

So, if your water heater is more than 10-15 years old, then that’s likely the reason for the crack. The materials used to construct the tank can degrade around this time, making them less capable of handling the pressure and temperature changes.

Temperature Fluctuations

Frequent temperature changes can cause the metal in the water heater to expand and contract. Of course, in small doses this is fine – expected, even. But if these fluctuations are severe or constant, they can weaken the tank’s structure, eventually leading to cracks.

Hard Water

Hard water is water that has a high mineral content, particularly calcium and magnesium. It’s not going to hurt you too much, but they’re not great for your hot water tank. These minerals can build up inside there, creating scale. This scaling can then cause the tank to overheat, which in turn can weaken the tank and lead to cracks.

Signs and Symptoms of a Cracked Water Heater

Since we typically don’t spend a lot of time with our hot water heaters, we may not realize when they’re having an issue. So, one of the best ways to save yourself from severe damage and costly repairs is recognizing the signs of a cracked water heater as soon as possible. 

Here are some symptoms to look out for:

Water Leaks

One of the most obvious signs of a cracked water heater is water leakage. If you notice puddles or damp spots around the base of your water heater, there’s a good chance that something is wrong. 

Small leaks can quickly become larger if you’re not on top of them. So, if you notice a damp spot, don’t be too quick to brush it off!

Noisy Operation

If your water heater starts making unusual noises, such as popping, cracking, or rumbling, it could be a sign that there is sediment buildup or a crack in the tank. These noises are often caused by the heating element coming into contact with sediment or the tank walls.

Reduced Hot Water Supply

A decrease in your hot water supply can also be a symptom of a cracked water heater. If the tank is compromised, it just can’t heat water efficiently. This can lead to a noticeable drop in the amount of hot water available for your home or business.

The Potential Dangers and Costs Associated with a Cracked Water Heater

Now, we know that it can be tempting to ignore some of these signs and symptoms of a cracked water heater. There’s no doubt that it can be hard to justify a potentially expensive and time-consuming service call for a damp spot.

But if you go this route, you’d be taking your chances. Minimizing the severity of the situation can have serious consequences, both for your property and your wallet.

Water Damage

A cracked water heater can lead to significant water damage in your home or business. Water leakage can seep into floors, walls, and other areas, causing structural damage and even promoting mold growth. And as you can probably imagine, repairing this kind of damage can be costly.

Increased Energy Bills

A compromised water heater won’t operate efficiently, which means it will consume more energy to heat the same amount of water. This can lead to higher utility bills.

Safety Hazards

A cracked water heater comes along with its share of safety hazards, including the risk of electrical malfunctions, gas leaks, and even explosions in severe cases. So, if the safety of your family or employees is a top priority, addressing this issue as soon as possible is crucial.

Can a Cracked Water Heater Be Repaired?

For the most part, the answer to whether a cracked water heater can be repaired depends on the extent and location of the crack. In some cases, minor cracks may be repairable, but it’s usually a temporary fix. For example, if the crack is on the exterior and is relatively small, a patch or sealant might work for a short period. 

But if the crack is inside the tank or extensive, replacement is the safest and most effective option. In either case, your best bet is to contact a professional plumber for an accurate assessment and recommendation.

Tips on Water Heater Maintenance to Prevent Future Damage

If you end up needing a new water heater, then you’ll likely want to avoid any more cracks in the near future. Fortunately, with the right maintenance routine, you can reduce the odds. Here are some tips to help you keep your water heater in top condition.

Regular Inspections

One of the best things you can do is schedule regular inspections of your water heater to catch potential issues early on. While the signs may slip by the average person, a professional plumber can identify subtle wear and tear, corrosion, or other problems that could lead to cracks or leaks.

Flush the Tank

Flushing the tank every so often helps to remove that sediment buildup that can cause overheating and damage. This simple maintenance task can extend the life of your water heater and improve its efficiency.

Monitor the Pressure

Keep an eye on the water pressure within your system, as high pressure can strain the tank and increase the risk of cracks. The easiest way to do this is to install a pressure relief valve to help regulate the pressure and protect the tank.

Cracked Water Heater? Call Water Pros Plumbing Today!

Dealing with a cracked water heater isn’t on the top of anyone’s list, but immediate action and regular maintenance are key to preventing major headaches. So, if you’re having any kind of issues with your water heater, don’t hesitate to call in the professionals at Water Pros Plumbing. Our team is here to help you ensure that your hot water is always flowing, ensuring comfort and safety for your home or business.

For more tips and expert advice, or to schedule a service, click here to schedule a Water Pros Plumber online, or call (480) 459-4424 today. Don’t wait until it’s too late—protect your investment and ensure peace of mind with regular maintenance and prompt repairs!

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