Water heater problems are often a good indicator that it’s time for a replacement – but not always.
Whether you have a top-of-the-line tankless or a standard tank model, you will have to consider a replacement sooner or later, if you own your home long enough.
If you wait for yours to fail, you could end up facing costly water damage throughout your home. To prevent that from happening, you can watch for some telltale signs that your water heater may be nearing the end of its lifespan.
How Old Is Your Water Heater?
Like any other home appliance, water heaters will develop problems after years of operation. Consequently, knowing the age of your unit can help you determine when replacement might be necessary.
Tank-style models typically need to be replaced after about 10 years. Tankless models can last longer, up to 20 years. If you can’t recall when yours was installed, look for the date on the serial number sticker or contact the manufacturer for help in determining the age.
If you have maintained your system over the years, yours may last a little longer than average. If you haven’t maintained it regularly, yours may not last as long – especially if your water has a high mineral content.
How’s Your Hot Water Supply?
Does the hot water coming from your taps and shower run out faster than it used to? Or does it feel noticeably cooler? A faster drop in temperature is a sure sign that you could have a problem. Specifically, the heating element may be failing.
A prompt repair could extend the life of your heater. However, if the temperature dip is caused by corrosion inside the tank, you will likely need a replacement soon.
Is Your Hot Water Rusty?
If you see rusty water coming from the hot side piping or from your heater tank, the inside may be corroded. Without replacement, it could spring a leak at any time.
However, if your home has galvanized pipes, the corrosion may not be inside the heater tank – it could be in your pipes. A professional plumber can find the source of the rust and get your water running clear again.
Is Your Water Heater Noisy?
As time goes on, sediment can build up on the bottom of a tank heater. This residue is continually reheated as the unit operates and, as a result, eventually hardens.
If you hear rumbling or banging noises coming from your water heater, you likely have some sediment build-up, and that means you may need a new appliance.
Is Your Water Heater Leaking?
As with any component of your plumbing system, the most obvious sign of a problem is a leak. If you notice any dripping, moisture accumulation or standing water near the unit, it’s critical that you contact a professional plumber right away.
Not every leak points to the need for replacement. You might simply have a loose valve or a condensation problem, for example. But, if you don’t have the issue checked, you could easily end up with a flood in your home. If it happens when you’re asleep or away, hundreds (or thousands) of gallons of water could flood your home.
If you want to make sure your water heater isn’t headed for failure, the American Plumbing team can help. We serve customers throughout the greater northern Utah. To schedule your free professional water heater consultation, contact our Provo office today.