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Technician providing maintenance to a water heater in the home of an O’Fallon, IL resident.

Indications Your Water Heater Requires Repair or Replacement

A functional water heater is essential for everyday life, supplying hot water for bathing, cleaning, and various household tasks. However, like any appliance, water heaters can develop problems over time. At Polar, we emphasize the importance of recognizing signs that your water heater may need repair or replacement. Doing so can help you avoid inconvenience, costly repairs, or potential damage to your home. Below, we have outlined key signs to watch for in your O’Fallon, IL home, helping you maintain the efficiency and reliability of your water heating system and ensuring continuous hot water supply for all your needs.

Age of the Water Heater

One key indicator that your water heater might need attention is its age. Most conventional water heaters have a lifespan of around 8 to 12 years. If your water heater is nearing or has exceeded this age range, it’s wise to start considering a replacement, even if it’s still working. Older units are more susceptible to failure and typically become less efficient as they age. This decline in efficiency can lead to higher energy bills and less reliable hot water.

Inconsistent Hot Water

An inconsistent hot water supply is often a sign that something is wrong with your water heater. This issue could stem from sediment buildup in the tank, which reduces the heater’s efficiency. It might also indicate a faulty heating element or a malfunctioning thermostat. These problems can worsen over time, so it’s important to address them early. Regular maintenance can help diagnose the root cause, ensuring your water heater provides consistent hot water.

Strange Noises

If you hear strange noises coming from your water heater, like banging, popping, or rumbling sounds, it could indicate sediment buildup at the bottom of the tank. Over time, minerals in the water settle and harden, causing the tank to overheat and become less efficient. To resolve this issue, you may need to flush the tank to remove the sediment. In some cases, replacing the unit might be necessary if the buildup is extensive or if the heater is older.


Any signs of water leaking from your water heater should be addressed immediately. Leaks can signal various issues, such as corrosion, loose fittings, or a faulty pressure relief valve. Ignoring leaks can result in water damage to your home and create potentially hazardous situations. To prevent further damage, our professional plumber can inspect and repair leaks promptly.

Rust or Corrosion

If you see rust or corrosion on your water heater’s tank or fittings, it’s a sure sign of wear and tear. Rust weakens the tank, which could lead to leaks or even a rupture in severe cases. If you spot any signs of rust, especially on older units, it’s best to get a professional opinion. They can assess the damage and advise whether repairs are possible or if it’s time for a replacement to ensure your safety and the heater’s efficiency.

Low Water Pressure

Lower water pressure might signal several plumbing issues, including problems with your water heater. Sediment buildup or mineral deposits can clog pipes or the tank, reducing water flow and pressure at your faucets. To restore proper pressure throughout your home, consider flushing the tank or replacing corroded pipes. These steps can help alleviate the issue and ensure consistent water pressure for your household needs.

Foul Odors

If you notice a foul odor in your hot water, like rotten eggs or sulfur, it may indicate bacteria growth inside the tank. Bacteria flourish in warm environments and generate unpleasant smells as they consume organic matter in the water. To tackle this issue, consider flushing the tank and disinfecting it using hydrogen peroxide or chlorine bleach. This process can effectively eliminate bacteria and help eliminate the odor, restoring your water’s freshness.

Higher Utility Bills

If you notice a sudden spike in your monthly utility bills without any increase in water usage, it could suggest inefficiency or malfunctioning in your water heater. Older units or those requiring repairs may consume more energy to heat water, leading to increased energy costs. Consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient model or repairing any faulty components to reduce long-term utility expenses and ensure your water heater operates efficiently.

Contact Polar for Your Water Heater Services

Paying attention to these signs can help you identify potential problems with your water heater before they escalate into major issues. Regular maintenance, timely repairs, and, if necessary, replacement can ensure the continued efficiency and reliability of your water heating system, saving you both time and money. If you notice any of these signs, don’t hesitate to contact our experts at Polar for our water heater services. Whether you need repair, maintenance, or replacement, we are ready to assist. Call us at 618.772.7007 to schedule your appointment. Our experienced team is here to ensure your O’Fallon, IL water heater continues to run smoothly.

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