Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Water Heater

Hot water is an indispensable luxury that many homeowners tend to overlook. But, it’s crucial to keep your water heater in good condition to avoid any inconvenience. Regular maintenance is key to ensure that it operates efficiently. Recognizing when it’s time to replace your water heater is also essential.

The lifespan of traditional water heaters typically ranges from eight to twelve years, while tankless water heaters can last up to 20 years. However, regardless of the type, water heaters will corrode over time, making it essential to keep an eye out for certain signs, particularly when it reaches the halfway mark of its expected lifespan. By doing so, you can avoid unexpected breakdowns and potentially hazardous situations. Here are some things to look out for that may be showing your water heater’s age:

 

The Water Looks Cloudy or Discolored

Discolored water is a common problem that arises with aging water heaters. Over time, rust accumulates in the pipes and seeps into the water supply, resulting in discolored water. Homeowners can first run cold water for a few minutes to determine whether the issue is within the pipes or the heater. If the water continues to be discolored, it’s time to replace the water heater. 

Water can also appear cloudy or sandy due to sediment accumulation in the heater tank. Clearing out the sediment may resolve the issue; however, if the problem persists, replacing the heater becomes necessary. Sediment buildup not only affects the water quality but also hinders the heater’s performance, leading to higher energy bills and frequent breakdowns. Regular maintenance and flushing out the tank can prevent sediment buildup and prolong the heater’s lifespan. 

 

Your Heating Bill is Going Up While Your Hot Water Level Is Going Down

If your home is not receiving warm water, the most apparent reason for replacing your hot water heater is that the water may not be as hot, the duration of hot water may be shortened, or there may be no hot water at all. This can also coincide with a surge in the heating bill, indicating an inefficient heater. 

When there is little to no hot water, it may be due to a malfunctioning electrical thermostat. Typically, the thermostat should be set between 120 and 140 degrees in a home. If the thermostat is reset and hot water is restored, the heater does not need to be replaced. This is an easy fix that can save you the cost of a new water heater. 

A faulty heating element may also result in a lack of hot water in the water heater. A plumber can quickly resolve this problem by obtaining the necessary components and restoring heating functionality within a few hours. However, parts for older water heaters may not be readily available, and it may be more practical to replace the entire system. Investing in a new water heater can increase energy efficiency, reduce energy bills, and provide a more reliable hot water supply. 

 

Your Water Heater is Making Strange Noises

As water heaters age, they can produce louder rumbling noises during the water-heating process, indicating that the system needs to be replaced.

The banging sound heard during heating results from sediment accumulation at the bottom of the water heater tank. The solidified sediment strikes against the tank, causing noise. Neglecting to remove the sediment can cause it to become harder and thicker, eventually damaging the heater and reducing its efficiency.

It is crucial to detect this issue early and take prompt action to prevent further damage and prolong the life of the water heater, as long as it does not require replacement yet. Flushing out the sediment and scheduling regular maintenance can prevent sediment buildup and prolong the heater’s lifespan. Additionally, if the noise persists even after sediment removal, it may be a sign of a more severe issue that requires a professional’s attention.

 

Your Water Heater is Leaking

When a hot water heater reaches the end of its life, it may begin to leak around the tank’s bottom, posing a risk of damage to the homeowner’s property. If a leak is detected, it’s a clear sign that a new water heater is needed. 

Leaks are typically caused by metal expansion in the tank during heating cycles. The repeated expansion and contraction can cause fractures in the tank, leading to water leaking out during heating cycles. In some cases, the leak may be repairable, but it’s only a temporary solution, and a new water heater will eventually be necessary. It’s essential to replace a leaking water heater promptly to prevent further damage and potential hazards. Delaying replacement can result in costly water damage and even mold growth, which can pose health risks to occupants. 

 

You’ve Needed Multiple Recent Repairs 

Frequent calls to a plumber to fix a hot water heater may indicate that it’s time to replace the entire unit. Water heaters can be fragile and require regular repairs, which can add up to significant expenses over time.

Replacing an old water heater with a newer one can offer more energy efficiency and a longer lifespan due to technological advancements. Modern water heaters are designed to use less energy and last longer than older models. This can result in lower electricity bills and less frequent repairs, saving homeowners money in the long run. Furthermore, newer models are more environmentally friendly and may qualify for energy efficiency rebates or tax credits, making them a smart investment for homeowners looking to upgrade their home’s energy efficiency.

 

Your Water Heater is Old

Determining the age of a water heater can be challenging for new homeowners, especially if there are no records of its purchase date. However, the manufacturing date can usually be found on the heater’s serial number, which is typically located on the unit’s rating plate. 

The serial number typically begins with a letter indicating the month of production, from “A” for January to “L” for December, followed by two digits for the year. For instance, a serial number that starts with “C19” shows that the heater was produced in March 2019.

 

HEATING, COOLING & Plumbing Specialists

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HEATING, COOLING & Plumbing Specialists

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