When water is heated, the calcium carbonate present in it gets precipitated and settles down. When this happens inside your hot water heater, it leads to a buildup of sediments inside the water tank. If there is any sand or other particulate matter present in the water, it can also pile up inside the tank.
Sediment buildup is generally a very slow process, but if you live in an area where the water is very hard, your water heater can get filled up really fast. If your heater is all filled up with sediment, you might not get sufficient hot water flow or it might not be at the desired temperature. The best way to avoid this is to have the heater flushed out at regular intervals.
Another common problem with Boston water heaters, both propane and electric is that of the appliance running out of hot water quickly or only supplying warm water. This issue might be on account of a broken or leaking dip tube or a burnt out heating element. The dip tube is a small plastic tube that allows cold water to flow into the bottom of the tank.
If this dip tube is broken, the hot and cold water will mix and you will only get warm water. This issue can be easily and quickly resolved by having the dip tube replaced. However, if your heater has a defective thermostat or the heating element has burned out, it might need bigger repairs or a complete replacement.
Some heaters that work on propane gas often make sounds when the temperature rises. This is generally on account of a build up on sediment at the bottom of the water tank. As the water heats up, steam bubbles form under the sediment and then rise through it to escape to the top of the water tank. Again, the issue can be resolved by flushing out the heater completely.
A major issue that plagues many Boston water heaters is that of pressure buildup. When water gets heated inside the heater, it expands. All heaters have a pressure reducing valve or check valve to allow this pressure to be released. But if this valve is blocked due to any reason, the pressure can rise quickly. If left unchecked, the pressure might rise to a level where the heater bursts.
To control this pressure you can have a temperature-pressure valve or a thermal expansion tank installed on your inlet line. This would allow the pressure to be released without any cause for concern. The temperature-pressure valve is a sensitive device that has a life-span of just about two years. If you water heater has such a valve, you should get it checked and replaced periodically.
Tankless heaters in Boston that do not store water for heating are also good alternatives as these would not have any chances of the pressure going out of control. Such heaters have direct vents for water inlet and outlet and the water flows through the heating element, which gets it heated.
Hot water heaters are mechanical and electrical devices and all devices can develop problems over time. This does not mean they should be replaced immediately. Most issues can be resolved by taking minor precautions. All it requires is a bit of understanding and care.