Skip navigation to main content.

Everything You Need to Know About Water Heaters in the Winter

Whether you have a gas or electric water heater, a traditional or tankless unit… the winter season presents unique challenges that you need to prepare for. Here is everything you need to know about winter water heater challenges and how you can keep your home (and wallet) protected. 

Winter Water Heater Cracking

Many areas across the US, including Sacramento, dip to freezing cold weather at night before rising back up to warmer temperatures during the day. As you can imagine, this constant stress on your system can lead to trouble. In this case, the biggest hazard to watch out for is water heater cracking. Each time that freezing weather hits your water heater, the metal contracts. During the day, the metal relaxes again. This movement can crack your water heater by breaking welds and weak spots in the tank lining.

In a best-case scenario, cracked units require a new water heater installation. At their worst, a crack in your water heater may flood your home—leaving you with both extensive water damage and a broken water heater. Thankfully, proper plumbing service and care can help prevent water heater cracking. During your annual inspections, a plumbing expert can also detect cracks to help you replace your unit before it floods your home. 

Sacrificial Anode Rod Replacement

Water heaters rely on their metal structure for safe and effective functioning, but metal can be corroded by constant exposure to water. This conflicting dynamic is made possible by having an anode rod in the water heater. Water and mineral attack metals starting with the soft ones first. The anode rod is softer than the tank, so as long as it is in place, it will protect the tank’s integrity.

When the sacrificial anode rod becomes corroded, it will no longer provide protection for your unit. The stress of the winter season paired with corrosion can spell disaster for your water heater. It is essential to have your sacrificial anode rod inspected and serviced before the colder weather rolls in. 

Hard Water and Water Heater Flushing

Hard water, such as that found in the Sacramento area, can lead to accelerated water heater decline. The high mineral content of hard water can create sediment buildup in your unit, which impacts your water heater performance. Annual water heater flushing can remove this sediment to prevent damage, restore your unit efficiency, and help your water function well throughout the winter season. 

To combat the effects of hard water throughout your home, you may also consider whole-house water purification systems, which help remove some of the extra mineral content from your water. 

Preventing Damage from Water Heater Issues

One of the easiest ways to manage water heater disasters is to prevent them altogether. Thankfully, there are simple services that an expert can provide to help keep your home safe from water damage, including water heater inspections, drip pans, and water alarms:

Water Heater Inspections

Regular water heater inspections can help an expert identify any issues that your system may be experiencing before they fully damage your water heater or your home. This includes checking signs of valve corrosion, unit cracking, or safety system failures. If an expert sees signs of water heater decline, they can work with you to find a repair plan. This can save you money on a new water heater and the water damage that your broken system may have otherwise created. 

Drip Pan Installation

Plumbing professionals can also install a drip pan beneath your water heater. In the event of a water leak, your drip pan will catch the water that would have otherwise damaged your home.

Water Alarm Systems

Water alarms are devices that can detect water leaks. An expert can install a water alarm system that will notify you of leaks from your water heater. They come in a few different forms:

  • Simple water alarms: At their most simple, water alarms act similarly to fire alarms, setting off a loud alerting noise when a leak is detected.
  • Advanced water alarms: More advanced water alarms can cut your home’s water supply through a shutoff valve connection when it senses a water leak. This saves time and hassle when a water leak surfaces. It is also ideal for homeowners who are worried about potential water leaks when they are away.
  • Smart water alarms: Newer “smart” water alarms can connect with your wi-fi to offer digital compatibility with your mobile devices and digital assistants (like Siri and Alexa). This provides remote monitoring, text alerts, and other high-tech features. 

New Water Heaters in Sacramento

Is your water heater ready to tackle the winter weather? If not, the trusted experts at Bonney can provide you with the services you need. When your water heater becomes old, cracked, inefficient, or ineffective, Bonney can help with our water heater installation services. With the help of our current promotions, you can get $250 off of any new water heater. Make an appointment with the local Bonney plumbing professionals to get started today!