How long has it been since you last checked the efficiency of your hot water system at home? If it's been so long that you can't really remember, and you've been noticing some tell-tale signs of trouble recently, then you may need to consider a complete replacement. Given the passage of time, even the most robust system will eventually wear down, so could some of these signs be a portend of what is to come?
Where to Start
Before you become too worried, however, you may need to check some of the more obvious factors. For example, if the water is nowhere near as hot as it used to be, just make sure that the temperature gauge has not been inadvertently reset. While you are there, check to make sure that the circuit breaker linked to the heater is still "on."
Also, don't automatically assume that discoloured water is a sign of tank failure. This could be linked to sedimentation on the bottom of the tank, which has accumulated to such a level that it is now being "sucked" through the pipes.
Try to drain the tank completely, but ensure that you turn the inlet valves off before you begin. Have a good look at the output here, and if it appears to contain a lot of rust, this may tell you that the tank has seen its better days.
Too much sediment can also cause issues with the system efficiency. For example, you may notice some strange "banging" noises when you draw some water off. This could be caused when sediment gets in the way or may become trapped in one of the valves. It can affect the pressure levels as water flows through narrower pipes, and the noise may be caused as the water tries to find a way past the blockage. Hopefully, this will disappear after you drain the tank.
More Action Needed?
Now that you have addressed some of the more obvious issues, you can determine whether you need to take any other action. An electrical water system should be generally reliable and should last for a number of years without issue, but sometimes a problem will still remain even after you have completely drained the tank. In this case, you may need to update your system to take advantage of the latest technology and specifications in the marketplace, and to do so, you should bring in a plumber for further advice. Contact a company like Parramatta Hot Water Service to get started.