Your home's hot water heater is essential to keeping you, your dishes, and your clothing clean. However, it is an appliance that can have problems that sneak up on you. Since the hot water heater does not require any interaction on a regular basis, there can be problems that build up to the point that it causes the unit to fail.
Relief Valve Issues
The hot water tank relief valve is what lets all that excess pressure leave the tank, which would otherwise be very dangerous if it was not working properly. It is possible for the valve to become damaged or stuck, which is why you want to inspect it every once in a while. Try testing it to see if it moves and operates as intended, which should be all you need to do. If it doesn't open and release pressure, then it will need to be repaired or replaced. The problem may be as simple as calcium buildup that has prevented the valve from opening.
One problem with a hot water heater that is very difficult to fix is corrosion. This can happen after the anode rod has deteriorated, and the rust starts attacking the exterior of the tank. The problem you do not want to happen is for a hole to form in the bottom of the tank. It will cause the entire contents of the tank to empty onto your floor, creating a big mess. Look for signs of rust to catch it early, which may require replacing the entire tank before the hole finishes forming.
Have you notice the water in your home being too hot or cold? If so, this may be due to a faulty thermostat. Check the temperature settings on the thermostat to make sure that nobody in the home has changed it. If the water temperature from your faucets does not represent what is set on the tank, the thermostat could be the problem.
As water comes in from the outside and makes its way to your hot water heater, it can tank sediment along with it. All that sediment eventually collects in the bottom of the tank, creating a banging sound inside the tank. Ultimately, the sediment causes the tank to work harder than it has to for heating water, which puts more wear and tear on the heating element. Drain the tank of sediment to avoid premature heating element replacement.
Contact a plumbing service for more help.