People seldom think much about their water heater unless it completely stops working. Unfortunately, even one that is providing hot water satisfactorily could be a looming danger in your home. Like all appliances, a water heater needs routine maintenance to continue working efficiently and to keep working safely. This is one reason why an annual inspection and maintenance call by a professional plumber to check for water heater leaks is so important.
You may be wondering right now just what the worst case scenario is with a bad water heater. In short, the worst potential danger is having your water heater explode. Yes, you read that right– a water heater can explode. Granted, you don’t hear much in the news about water heaters exploding left and right, but it can and does happen. When a water heater corrodes due to a water heater leak, it is weakened. Add hot steam and a weakened tank and . . . BOOM! While you won’t always get much warning that this is about to happen, if you ever notice steam coming out of your hot water faucet, shut off the electricity to your water heater and call a plumber immediately!
A close second in regards to serious danger is the potential for an electric shock. Any time you mix water and electricity, there is the chance for a hair-raising experience. As you probably know, electricity can travel quickly and easily through water, so anywhere the water from a leak goes, so goes the current. When this happens, anything nearby, whether appliance, human, or pet, can be damaged or injured.
Although it doesn’t come close in comparison to being blown up or fried, having your water heater leak and destroy personal property can be heartbreaking. We seldom realize the risk we take when we store things in the same area as our water heater. When a water heater fails and loses all the water in it, it can damage your home and property, leading to very costly repairs. Should it happen when you are away on vacation, you could also face a very large water bill.
A qualified plumber can run a test on your water heater to be sure all components are working correctly, thus putting all these hazard risks to a minimum. He will also perform an annual routine maintenance check to keep it working as long as possible. A plumber can also tell you when it is advisable to replace your water heater. Water heaters are rated for different life expectancies, so if yours is on borrowed time, it is better to replace it before it fails or leaks and makes for a very bad day.