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Leaking Water Heaters

Leaking water heaters can damage your home while driving up your utility bills. Earl Gray & Sons Plumbing Service offers tips that will help you prevent such problems; as well as offering water tank cleaning services in Indianapolis and nearby towns.

A standard water heater will last 8 to 12 years. Most tanks are steel-lined, with glass or porcelain. Over time, these can oxidize and deteriorate. Most will eventually leak; in some cases, the leak will be slow; in others, it will be more dramatic. For that reason, it is a good idea to find out where your water shut-off valve is located, so you’ll be able to shut off the water if a leak appears.


Some water heaters will last for 15 to 20 years, but it is important to keep in mind that, although the unit may still be working, it probably has lost a good degree of efficiency over time, as sediment builds up inside the tank.


A tankless water heater can last 2 to 3 times longer than a traditional unit, as long as you properly care for it.


There are some steps you can take to extend your water heater’s life from Indianapolis’ licensed plumbing experts at Earl Gray & Sons:

  • Installing a second anode rod: Installing a second anode rod will greatly increase the life of your water heater. The anode rod is a “sacrificial” rod made of magnesium or aluminum that undergoes galvanic corrosion over time, sacrificing itself and thereby preventing corrosion of the tank.

  • Cleaning or flushing out your tank: For older water heaters, flushing the tank out annually can help prevent sediment buildup and maintain efficiency. Many newer model water heaters are self-cleaning.

  • Installing a pressure regulating valve (PRV): If you have water pressure above 80 PSI, the pressure can damage appliances and cause your water heater to fail prematurely. By installing a PRV, you can reduce system pressure as well as wear and tear on appliances. If you install a PRV, it’s also a good idea to install an expansion tank.

  • Water softeners: Water in some areas of the United States has high mineral content (referred to as hard water). Hard water causes scaling, which is a precipitation of minerals deposited onto surfaces of appliances. Scaling reduces the life of a water heater. In many cases, a water softener can mitigate the problem.


Flushing the Tank

We recommend that your flush your water-heater tank once a year. This will remove sediment and rust particles that tend to settle on the bottom of the tank.

Sediment can be found in most water supplies. Rust, in contrast, comes from the water heater tank’s interior, due to normal tank aging, and from the piping within your house and the piping of the water supply from the street.


If your water heater makes a percolating noise, excessive sediment deposits probably have built up on the bottom of the tank. The heat generated by the unit has to pass through the sediment before it reaches the water. This causes the water to boil close to the bottom of the tank, using excessive energy.


Tank flushing usually resolves this problem; however, in tanks that have not been flushed yearly, the sediment may be baked onto the bottom of the tank and cannot be removed.


Older tanks also tend to have this problem, despite frequent flushing, as do tanks that are fed by high-sediment water supplies.


If flushing does not resolve the issue, there could be a problem with the water heater’s dip tube. This is a plastic tube inside the water heater, located on the cold-water-supply side of the tank. Its job is to take the cold water that enters the tank to the bottom, where the heating source is. Dip tubes can break down over time; in such cases, replacing the water heater is the solution.


Earl Gray & Sons Plumbing can help in the event of an emergency, our licensed plumbers throughout the Indianapolis area provide emergency repairs any time of the day, Mon-Sat. We can repair your home’s water and drainage systems, through our water tank cleaning service at the most convenient time for you. 


Our friendly staff will be happy to answer any questions you might have.


Smelly Odors

Does the water in your home have an unpleasant odor? The experienced, licensed plumbers of Earl Gray & Sons Plumbing Service offer tips that can help you solve the problem.


Rotten-egg Odor
The most common cause of foul-smelling water is anaerobic bacteria. This bacteria exists in the water and reacts with the magnesium and aluminum sacrificial anodes contained within most water heaters. This interaction produces hydrogen sulfide gas, which releases a rotten-egg odor. The problem is most common in well systems, both private and municipal. Softening can make the smell even worse.


What NOT  To Do:
Some people remove the sacrificial anodes from their water heaters in order to get rid of the foul odor. Although that’s a possible solution, it will cause your water heater to rust very rapidly. It also will void the warranty on the water heater. There are other approaches that can solve the problem without creating costly new problems.


Softened Water
Some people have installed aluminum-zinc anodes only to discover that the odor stays. These cases typically involve softened water.


Softening can accelerate anode consumption by increasing the conductivity of the water. That in turn increases the amount of hydrogen sulfide gas produced.


Keep in mind that water constantly changes, and the water flowing out of the tap today may be different tomorrow, because of what’s in the ground or because the water company has changed its sources of supply or added something new to it.




Earl Gray & Sons Plumbing can help in the event that you’re experiencing problems with water quality and odor. Our expert plumbers throughout the Indianapolis area provide repairs any time of the day, Monday-Saturday. We can repair your home’s drainage and water systems at the most convenient time for you.

Our friendly staff will be happy to answer any questions you might have.

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