4 signs your water heater may be about to break down

Key tips to remember

  • Warning signs can include sounds, sights and smells
  • Call a professional plumber to see how to fix these issues
  • Consider a home protection plan with systems coverage for your water heater and plumbing.
Maintenance and Repairs

There are some common signs of potential trouble with your water heater. Here are four in particular to watch (or listen, or even smell!) for:

  1. Strange noises — This one is the most obvious sign of impending trouble and generally foretells a problem that will require professional help.
  2. Dirty water — If you start seeing dirty water, don’t immediately panic. First, ask your neighbors if they see the same. Then, determine whether you have a water filter problem. If neither of these applies, it’s time to call a plumber.
  3. Smelly water — If there’s an odor you don’t recognize, it might mean that minerals have built up in your tank. Call a pro to pump it out.
  4. No hot water — If your water starts running out earlier than usual, it’s possible that there’s a problem with the gas burner or electrical elements inside. Call a plumber to check it out.

How long before it goes?
If you're seeing these signs, you probably have a few weeks left before the unit completely fails. But, there's no guarantee.

Be prepared with a home protection plan
At Cinch, our home protection plans can help you reduce the cost of unexpected repairs. (You'll want the Built-in Systems or Complete Home plan to cover the water heater and other parts of your plubming system.) We also link you to a network of top-notch and vetted service partners. If we can't repair your water heater, we'll replace it. And the work is guaranteed for six months.

To learn more about what's covered and find rates for your area, get a free quote today.


The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.