You’ve just finished installing the new hardwood floor in the living room, put the last coat of paint on the back deck and repaired that leaky faucet in the guest bathroom, when bam! You step into a nice hot shower only to find it is not nice at all. In fact, it is either icy cold or scalding hot, with no happy medium to be found. Your work is not over yet.

And while yes, we agree that installing flooring, painting decks and repairing faucets is quite the go-getter agenda for anyone’s weekend plans, we also realise that having your hot water heater suddenly fail – including causing potential damage to your home, and skin – isn’t something you’re likely to have the time, patience, money or energy to deal with. Thankfully we’re here to offer some early detection signs that may indicate your hot water heater needs repairs or replacement before it becomes a major issue for you and your family.

Decline in Hot Water

Due to mineral deposits settling in the bottom of the tank, the first sign of a failing hot water system is often a sudden lack in your home’s hot water supply. Whether it’s simply taking longer to heat than normal, never getting as hot as it used to or running out halfway through your normal routine, it’s time to have it checked before the problem worsens and repairs become more costly.

Leaking & Corrosion

If your hot water heater is leaking from the bottom, it is most likely time to replace the entire unit. While hot water heaters have an average lifespan of 10 years, failing to have them serviced when you notice a small leak could result in much worse damage down the line.

A leaking pressure relief valve often indicates that the heater can no longer handle the pressure or heat in the tank, and corrosion around the pipe fittings is also an early warning sign that you may need to call a plumber to take a look. Lastly, if your heater is electric, water corrosion has the possibility of causing an electrical short, so beware of faulty installations (and unlicensed plumbers) that may cause this type of risk.

Popping Noises

If your hot water heater starts to sound like a popcorn maker – listen for popping, knocking or banging noises – it’s time to make an appointment. This is caused by water trapped under a layer of sediment, which then heats and bubbles as it attempts to escape. Trust us, making the choice to not investigate certainly doesn’t include a perfect movie ending.

Sulphuric Smell

If you notice a distinct sulphur or rotten egg smell coming from your hot water heater, this could mean there is a gas leak. All of our highly trained and qualified plumbers are well versed in spotting potentially dangerous leaks, so rest assured you are in good hands.


If you notice a metallic smell or rust in your hot water system, it may mean your hot water heater is rusting from the inside out. Unfortunately, the only way to solve this is to replace your heater, though if you also notice rust in your cold water, it could be an issue with the pipes in your home instead. Our plumbers will be happy to look further to ensure the safety of your family.

Yellow Flame

Though it is only an issue when dealing with a standard atmospheric water heater, be sure to check that the flame underneath the tank is burning blue, not yellow, which indicates it is burning too cool and should be serviced immediately.

Here at Jeff MacDonald Plumbing, we take great pride in providing timely, cost effective and qualified hot water installation and repair services for all of our customers on the Gold Coast.

Whether you need help installing a new electric, gas or solar hot water system, or require maintenance on your existing hot water heater, we are here to help.

Every hot water repair or installation job includes a free water audit to test for leaks, pressure, wastage, temperature and safety, and our extensive experience leaves us confident we can identify and solve the problem as soon as possible.

For more info on whether it might be time to replace the hot water heater, get in touch with us today on 07 5535 5591