Hot running water counts as such a common and essential household amenity that you and your loved ones may only appreciate it once you’ve lost reliable access to it. Your water heater works tirelessly to meet that need, but at some point, it may wear out or your own changing needs
may render it inadequate.
If you want to anticipate and prepare for your future investment in a new water heater, you’ll want to know when to expect that moment and how to recognize the hallmarks signs that your current water heater no longer serves you properly. Pay attention to the following four indicators.
1. Your Water Heater Has Celebrated Its 10th Birthday
While your water heater’s ability to provide reliable service will depend in part on the unit’s quality and your efforts to maintain it, most tank-based water heaters start to fail after 6 to 10 years. Once the internal anode rod stops attractive corrosive substances, those substances will cause the tank to rust and fail.
The one exception to this general rule about water heater lifespans involves tankless water heaters. Since these units supply hot water only on demand instead of constantly, they can last many more years than the traditional tank-based variety. Even so, they will eventually corrode and require replacement.
2. Your Household Water Looks or Tastes Wrong
Corrosion in an aging water heater produces rust as the metal parts of the unit deteriorate. The rust dissolves into the water that ends up in your tub, shower, or sink every time you use the hot tap. Red, orange, or brown discoloration in your water or a foul taste in your hot water could mean a rust problem.
Bear in mind that the rusty discoloration in your water doesn’t necessarily come from your water heater. If you notice this problem when you run either cold or hot water, you may need to replace a rusty pipe instead. If the problem only occurs when you run hot water, suspect the water heater.
3. You Hear Unusual Noises From the Water Heater
Water heaters can make some strange sounds when things on them start going wrong. If you notice that your water heater makes banging popping, screeching, crackling, or sizzling noises, contact a plumbing technician immediately to inspect the problem and let you know whether you need a repair or a replacement.
Some of the problems that make water heaters noisy can respond to some simple fixes, such as adjustments to the inlet control valve (which may eliminate screeching) and replacement of leaky attachments (which can allow water to drip onto the burner and sizzle). However, a failure in the tank itself may call for a new water heater.
4. Your Water Heater Uses Too Much Energy
If your energy bills have gone through the roof for no clear reason, you may have reason to blame your water heater. Water heaters naturally lose some of their energy efficiency as they age, forcing them to draw more and more power to achieve the same results. High energy bills plus an old water heater probably equals replacement.
Some households struggle with a water heater of the wrong size, which can affect energy bills. You and your family may need to run a too-small water heater longer and harder to get a usable amount of hot water. By contrast, a too-large water heater will always heat more water than you really need, wasting energy in the process.
You can solve these problems by asking your plumbing technician to examine your current water. This expert can tell you whether your water heater has lost enough efficiency to merit replacement. If you need a smaller, larger, and more energy-efficient water heater, your technician can recommend and install one.
Arnold & Sons Plumbing, Sewer and Drain Services can inspect your water heater, tell you whether you need a replacement or simply a repair, Contact us today.