One of the most frequently asked questions that we get is “How do I know when it’s time to replace my water heater?”
There’s never a convenient time for your home water heater to go on the fritz. If you are like most people, you probably do not give your water heater a second thought until suddenly there’s no hot water, which then prompts you to schedule a water heater repair. Some water heater repairs can be minor and inexpensive. However, some issues might signal it is time for a replacement. Your water heater will often give you clues that it is time to replace it instead of repair it.
As your water heater ages, the likelihood that it will break down will greatly increase. You’ll want to check your manufacturer’s warranty to confirm the life expectancy of your tank. Most tank-type water heaters will last between 8 to 10 years. With regular maintenance, such as flushing the tank and draining sediment from the tank, your tank might last a few extra years, but the replacement point for most water heaters with a tank is about 10 years. A tankless water heater has a much longer lifespan, with some having lifetime warranties.
Check for Electrical Issues
Regular water heater maintenance will extend the life of your unit. You may find that you have a faulty part such as a pressure relief valve or heating element that needs replacement. These are fairly simple repairs that will cost much less than the entire unit. It’s also always a good idea to confirm a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse isn’t the cause of your cold water.
Water Looks Rusty
While the exterior of your water heater tank can rust or show signs of corrosion, so can the interior. A telltale sign is that your hot water will look rusty coming out of the tap. Once a tank starts to rust, a water heater repair will not be possible. It is only a matter of time before the tank will start leaking. As soon as rust or corrosion is found, you should immediately replace your water heater to prevent expensive water damage if the tank leaks or bursts. Depending on the type of water your home has, you may find that the life of your water heater is cut short. Water with heavy elements or hard water may cause a bit more damage.
Tank is Leaking
If your tank is already leaking, it’s time to replace your current water heater. Water damage may have already occurred to your home and you will want to avoid additional damage to walls, floors, and ceilings.
Not Enough Hot Water
You may notice that your hot water just doesn’t seem as hot as it used to be or you suddenly have no hot water at all. A water heater repair might be needed to replace a broken thermostat or heating element. However, it may also mean that your water heater can no longer keep up with the demand for hot water in your home.