This (Gross) Sign Means Your Water Heater Is About to Burst

Imagine this: you wake up one morning and go about your daily morning routine only to get a nasty surprise: Your hot water is a dark brown, rusty color.

So, what does that mean? It means your water heater is rusting from the inside out and is ready to burst at any moment.

Want to avoid this gross and very expensive problem? Then go check your water heater’s anode rod.

Not sure what your anode rod is or why it’s so important? Read on. We’ll cover all of that.

Anode rod: Your water heater’s anti-rusting weapon

Water heaters aren’t made to last forever. They rust away with time. That’s because the tank itself is made of glass-lined steel. And the chemicals and minerals in the water slowly eat away at that steel.

But water heater tanks have a secret anti-rusting weapon: sacrificial anode rods.

Your anode rod is a long, thin metal rod that screws into the top of your water heater and protects your tank from rusting by “attracting” all the corrosive elements in the water.

The anode rod in this electric water heater diagram is the long, metallic rod in the center of the tank.

Basically, anode rods “sacrifice” themselves for the sake of your tank. And because of that, they need to be replaced on a regular basis.

So, how do you know when to replace your anode rod? Let’s take a look…

How to check your anode rod

You’ll want to visually inspect your anode rod every year or so to check for signs of corrosion.

If your anode rod looks like the one to the right, it’s time to replace it.

Unfortunately, checking this yourself can be a difficult task as you’ll need a variety of tools (an air compressor, a 1/2-in.-drive impact wrench and a 1-1/16-in. socket). But if you have all those handy, you can follow these steps to a DIY anode rod inspection and replacement.

Otherwise, your plumber can easily handle the task in just a few minutes.

How often does my anode rod need replacing?

Typically, an anode rod can last anywhere from 3 to 5 years before it starts corroding. But various factors can speed up that corrosion process, such as:

  • The material your anode rod is made of
  • Whether you use a water softener
  • The water temperature
  • The quality of the tank
  • What happens if I don’t replace my anode rod?

If a worn out anode rod isn’t replaced, corrosive elements in the water will turn their attention away from the rod and start eating your tank. And when that happens, you’ll start to see the tell tale signs of a rusting water heater:

  • Rust-colored water
  • Leaks in the tank
  • Metallic taste to your hot water
  • Hot water doesn’t get as hot as it used to

Need professional water heater maintenance? Call us.

Need your anode rod replaced? See the signs of a rusting water heater?

Don’t wait to get either of these fixed. Over 69% of water heater failures are caused by a rusted tank that bursts, costing homeowners over $4,444 on average in water damage.

Whatever your water heater needs, we can help. Just schedule water heater maintenance with our certified plumbers today.

Why Is My Water Softener Sweating?

So you’ve walked into your garage or basement and noticed that your water softener is “sweating”. In fact, you notice water beading up and dripping off the tank as you’re standing there.

So, what’s causing this? Is it normal?

If your water softener is “sweating”, it’s most likely because warm air is condensing on the cool surface of your water softener.

Don’t worry, some condensation is normal (and unavoidable in Florida’s warm, humid climate).

But if that condensation is getting a little out of control, there are a few tricks you can try to manage how much your water softener is sweating.

We’ll give you a solution to stop the sweating. But first, let’s explain exactly why your water softener is producing condensation in the first place.

Some condensation on your water softener is normal

Here’s the secret behind all that condensation on your tank: warm air hitting a cold surface produces moisture.

Think of your tank as an ice-cold can of soda sitting outside on a hot day. The more the warm air hits that cold surface, the more water beads up on the outside of the can, right?

And because your water softener is usually located in warmer areas of the home (that is, the basement or garage), it’s bound to produce some condensation.

How much your water softener sweats really just depends on the difference in temperature between the tank itself and the surrounding air. The larger the difference in temperatures, the more condensation you’ll see.

Note: if your water tank is actually producing gallons of water, you most likely have a leak somewhere in the tank or nearby pipes. In which case you’d want to have a professional inspect the tank and offer the best solution.

Now let’s look at some of the ways you can control the condensation levels.

The solution? Insulate the tank to prevent condensation

Adding insulation over the surface of your water softener basically puts a (warmer) barrier between the cold surface of your tank and the warm air. And that means less condensation.

There are lots of insulation options out there, though. We suggest choosing a material that gives you a “skin tight” connection, like foam or neoprene insulation.

Need a short-term option while you’re shopping around for insulation?

Place a pan underneath the water softener tank. This will help catch moisture dripping off the water softener so that there’s no risk of water damage. We suggest placing a small amount of bleach in the pan to prevent mold or bacteria growth.

Have more water softener questions? Ask a SouthWest plumber

Have questions on water softener insulation? Or have other water softener problems?

Whatever your problem, we’re here to help.

Just contact us today. We’re happy to answer your questions.

Appreciate Your Houseplants

houseplant-appreciation-day

Houseplants are a wonderful addition to any home, adding to the fresh scent of living earth, the subtle fragrance of your favorite flower, or just a bit of the outdoors in the indoors. While some people have difficulty being able to sustain these little treasures, it has been shown to be incredibly therapeutic to have this blush of the natural world inside your home.

There are so many things that houseplants can help with when it comes to enhancing your life. Aloe Vera grows quite well indoors, and is perfect for minor cuts and bruises, helping to moisturize skin, and healing minor burns. A small herb garden in our window sill can bring the delicious taste of fresh herbs to your meals, while catnip can make your cats happy. Though you may want to grow those someplace they can’t get to them.

Bring the joy and pleasure of the houseplant into your home. Whether you decide to start growing a small group of flowering plants of their color and fragrance, or a small herb garden to enhance your kitchen, you can really brighten up your home! If you don’t have a green thumb, then try some of the plants that require very little attention. Fill your home with air plants, Aloe Vera, succulents, bamboo or orchids.

These low-maintenance plants are perfect for beginners. If you prefer something a bit more in the realm of vinery, spider plants are perfect. No, they don’t have anything to do with spiders, they just have long thin vines and delicate leaves that are somewhat reminiscent of insect. For the ambitious gardener, you can dive into creating a small window garden full of beautiful flowers and deliciously savory herbs. Plants give you wonderful rewards for everything you put in. For all the little nooks and crannies in your home, fill them with plants!