Like anything else, water heaters don’t last forever. At some point, no amount of repairs or maintenance will save it from the scrap heap.
Now, the average hot water heater will last 8-10 years. If that seems too low, think about the demands your household places on the heater. From cooking to hand-washing, the average person may use hot or warm water up to 20 times a day.
Not sure when it’s time to start thinking about replacements? Here are 4 common indicators that your water heater is on its last legs.
As mentioned, most water heaters that are over 10 years old need replacing. If you don’t know how old your heater is, look for its serial number. It’s usually located on the manufacturer’s sticker on the upper side of your heater.
This number will have a date code that looks like this: C125162627. The “C” (third letter of the alphabet) refers to the third month of the year, March. The first two digits (12) represent the year. This water heater hails from March 2012.
Keep in mind that old age may cause issues even before the heater turns 10. For instance, it may need more time to heat your water. To avoid these problems in the future, get an instant hot water heater.
The older your heater is, the more sediment builds up at the bottom of the tank. As this sediment gets heated and reheated, it will keep hardening. This will cause the heater to start making rumbling noises.
Hardened sediment means that your heater will need to use more gas or electricity to heat your water. This will cause more wear and tear on the tank. If you don’t get rid of the sediment in time, you’ll need to replace the whole heater.
Do you have rusty water coming from your water heater? If it’s only coming from the hot side piping, the inside of your heater has likely started to rust. If you have galvanized piping, you may be dealing with rusty pipes.
The best way to find out which problem you’re facing is to test your water quality. To do that, drain several five-gallon buckets of hot water out of your heater. If you’re still seeing rusty water by the third bucket, the heater itself is at fault.
Moisture around your heater is a surefire sign of small leaks or fractures in the tank. If there are any fractures, water will leak when the metal starts expanding from heat. Once the tank has cooled down, the leaks should stop.
If you notice leaks, take a closer look at the fittings or connections to the tank. While you’re at it, ensure that the overflow pipe isn’t leaking either. If all the fittings and connections are dry, it may be time to replace your heater.
More on Replacing a Hot Water Heater
If you notice the above signs, your first move should be to contact a professional. Still, keep in mind that your heater shouldn’t need service more than twice a year. Otherwise, you’d save more money by replacing your hot water heater.
Want to find out how much installing a new heater will cost you? Can’t decide between an electric hot water heater and a tankless hot water heater? Keep reading our home-related content!