Imagine this. When you turn the faucet handle, the water that spits out is a gross, rusty color. If this happens to you, the problem may lie in your hot water heater. How serious it is will depend on its exact cause, and there are many possibilities for this. But, honestly, any changes in the color, temperature, or even the feel of your water are a pretty surefire sign that you need to have your hot water heater looked at by professionals.


Rusty or grainy-feeling water is often due to built-up sediment inside of the hot water heater.

Sediment and rust can enter the hot water heater naturally, but if they don't get flushed out, then they all settle on the bottom, affecting your water.

You turn the hot water on, everything gets stirred up, and the result is rusty, uncomfortable water. This cause may mean that you need to have your hot water heater cleaned or, if the problem is really severe and has been left for a long time, that you need to have it replaced.

Either way, unless you want to take a shower in some really nasty water, you want to have your hot water heater looked at.

Actual Rusting

Sometimes, especially without regular care and maintenance, hot water heaters can actually start to rust. This is particularly a problem with galvanized iron water heaters.

So, if your water heater is made from this material and is very old, rust in the water means a rusted unit, which you should replace before the hot water heater fails totally, often leading to leaks and severe damage, which can make for some very costly and difficult repairs.

Damaged Casing

Hot water heater tanks are typically protected by a glass casing, commonly called a jacket. Sometimes, this casing can become damaged or compromised, allowing the hot water to come into contact with the actual wall, thereby leading to rusting and other problems.

If you catch the issue early enough, repairing the casing may fix the problem. Let it go on for too long, however, and you'll likely have to replace the entire unit.

As you can see, all kinds of problems can compromise a water heater. However, if you care for your heating unit regularly and stop using your hot water until problems can be further inspected, you can often avoid costly replacements in favor of simpler repairs.

For more information, contact local water heater repair services.