Main Content

Home » Is your rental unit’s water heater about to blow?

Is your rental unit’s water heater about to blow?

We can think of few things that will put a rental manager into a panic mode quicker than a tenant calling with news that there is no hot water in their unit. Moreover, as a property manager, we can attest to the love-hate relationship most property managers have with water heaters.

It’s a fact if you own or manage any property, your tenants rely on you to provide certain essential amenities, among them is hot water. From showering to most household tasks like dishwashing and laundry, water is one of the most basic needs of any tenant.

Learning to recognize the signs that you may need to replace or repair your rentals water heater is a huge benefit to any property manager, saving you time, money and headaches.

Below are the primary signs that of a water heater that needs either replacing or maintenance;

    • Water leaking or puddling
    • Little or no hot water
    • Visible coloring or debris in the water
    • Unpleasant smell or taste
    • Rust build up or evidence of calcium
    • The heating unit is making unusual or louder than usual noises.
    • Leaking

Leaking
No matter how big or small if you see occasional drips or lake like puddles of water this is probably one of the most visible signs that your water heater needs attention. For diagnosis, the best time to observe leaks is during the heating cycle as the unit is running.

Causes range from cracks due to age or improper installation, but all should be taken seriously as leaking water is not only inconvenient, it has the potential of causing significant structural damage to units. As soon as water is seen it’s time to call in the pros.

No matter how big or small if you see occasional drips or lake like puddles of water this is probably one of the most visible signs that your water heater needs attention. For diagnosis, the best time to observe leaks is during the heating cycle as the unit is running.

Causes range from cracks due to age or improper installation, but all should be taken seriously as leaking water is not only inconvenient, it has the potential of causing significant structural damage to units. As soon as water is seen it’s time to call in the pros.

Appearance or Odor
Water should look and smell like, water. If you are seeing debris in your water or smelling foul odors, your problem probably won’t be visible at the site of the water heater.

To identify the source of this type of issue, you will need to inspect faucets and fixtures while the water is running. Indications that the water that is “off,” are cloudy appearance, brown color or the presence of particles.

The most common culprit in most cases is sediment buildup. Too much sediment will discolor the water and will eventually damage the entire heater. Maintenance flushing can help resolve some sediment issues if the problem has gone on too long, the damage may be irreversible which would call for a full replacement.

Unusual or Loud Noises

So what constitutes unusual noises in a water heater? Any of the following sounds should be a red flag indicating that there may be an issue with your water heater; popping, banging, rumbling or crackling.

Your first line of defense, in this case, is your tenants. Open and frequent communication with your tenant will facilitate quick repairs and head off potentially catastrophic water heater problems.

The cause for noisy waters heaters is usually mineral deposits. When these deposits settle and build up on the bottom of water heating units, it becomes calcified. As the heating mechanism begins to warm it interacts with this hardened layer thus creating a popping, cracking noises. This type of build up will significantly affect the unit’s efficiency resulting in higher heating costs and ultimately complete break down of the unit.

Signs of Rust
If you see red or brown coloration in your water, you most probably have a rust issue.
Rust and plumbing of any kind seem joined at the hip. Runs can affect almost all of the parts in a water heating system. Most rust origins can be traced back to corrosion of the steel components that come in to contact with water that runs from your heater.

As the metal begins to break apart from rust, your unit will eventually suffer from leaks or a complete breakdown. If your water heater is more than 15 years old, it might be time to replace the unit as most water heaters are not meant to last more than 10-15 years. At 15 your water is more than likely nearing the end of its useful life.