What Should I Do About Water Heater Rust?

Jan 03, 2022

If you notice rust in or around your water heater, you’ll want to take action immediately. Rust can cause your unit to corrode and, in some cases, can make it so your water heater releases toxic gasses into your home. While rust is serious, a trained professional can usually fix it for you, providing water heater repair or replacement services. Find out more about the main reasons for water heater rust and the actions you can take to fix it.

Reasons Your Water Heater Is Rusting and What to Do About It

Some of the most common reasons for water heater rust include chemical reactions in the heat exchanger, exterior leaking connections, sediment layer build-up, and rusted through anode rods. Since water heater rust can lead to expensive repairs or even threats to your health, it’s crucial you do something about rust as soon you notice it. Learn more about the primary causes of water heater rust and how you can solve them below:

1. Rusted-Through Anode Rod

The most common reason for water heater rust is a rusted-through anode rod. These rods are placed in the center of the water heater’s tank and are designed to prevent rusting and corrosion to the rest of the unit. Basically, anode rods sacrifice themselves by taking on rust so the rest of the tank isn’t affected. Eventually, these rods will rust all the way through, leading other parts of the tank to oxidize and rust over.

Since it takes some know-how to replace an anode rod, you’ll want to contact a water heater expert to replace it for you and remove any rust that’s already inside the tank. You can prevent this issue from reoccurring by scheduling regular maintenance visits from a plumbing professional. With regular visits, a technician can keep tabs on the condition of your anode rode and change it out before it completely rusts.

2. Chemical Reaction in the Heat Exchanger

If you notice rust forming on the bottom of your water heater, the problem might be occurring due to a chemical reaction in the heat exchanger. When the heater exchanger’s metal reacts to combustion gas, it will cause rust to form. This reaction can also make it so your heat exchanger cracks and lets toxic gases escape into your home, so it’s critical you take action on it as fast as possible.

Due to dangers associated with the potential for a chemical reaction in your water heater, you should leave any repairs to the professionals. After you hire a water heater technician, they’ll likely need to replace your heat exchanger to solve the problem.

3. Exterior Leaking Connection

When you notice rust on the top of your water heater, it’s like the cause of a leaking connection. If a pipe or other connection above the water heater is cracked or broken, water might leak onto the water heater, causing the top to rust. While you’ll want to act fast on any rust you find on top of the water heater, this issue usually won’t mean you have to replace your unit.

Since you’ll need to fix the leaking connection to prevent rusting, it’s best to contact a professional who can perform an inspection and find where the leak is coming from. After they locate the source of the leak, they’ll take action to fix it. Next, they should be able to remove any rust on the water heater and ensure it’s still safe to use.

4. Sediment Layer Build-Up

If the interior of your water heater’s tank is rusting, the issue could be from an anode rod, but it could also be because of sediment build-up. When a water heater isn’t flushed at appropriate intervals, sediment can start to build and cause rust to form. This rust can then get into your water supply and cause your hot water to look yellow.

In the case of sediment build-up, you’ll want to turn to a professional who can evaluate the tank and then flush it out to remove the sediment. Usually, flushing the sediment will fix the issue, but if the water heater has rusted extensively, you might need to replace the entire unit.

Trust Newcomb and Company for Water Heater Repair and Replacement Services in Raleigh

When you’re looking for water heater maintenance or repairs, turn to Newcomb and Company. Our team can perform several water heater services for homeowners living in Raleigh, Wilmington, and the surrounding areas. Besides repairing units or performing regular maintenance, we can also provide water heater replacement services. Once we inspect your home and unit, we’ll give you advice on the right water heater for your needs, such as tankless, gas, or electric units, and then install the new unit for you.

Take a moment to learn more about our water heater services. If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, please feel free to contact us


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