Your water heater is one of those things in your home that you don’t notice when it’s working properly, but the moment it stops your household comes to a screeching halt.
You can avoid the nasty surprise of your water heater completely giving out on you by looking for early signs that you may need to replace it.
If you are concerned about hot water heater replacement, here are some signs you should look for.
Age isn’t just a number
You can only go so long before you need to start thinking about hot water heater replacement.
In general, it is recommended that you replace a hot water heater every ten years. Some models may last longer and some may be on their last leg long before that, but around the ten-year mark is when you should really start looking for signs of aging and look into hot water heater replacement.
If you can’t remember when your water heater was installed, look at the manufacture’s sticker. You can usually find this near the top of the water heater.
On the sticker, you will find a serial number. For example, you might see “F051052638.” The first part is your date code.
The letter stands for the month in which the water heater was manufactured. “F” is the sixth letter, so we know that it was manufactured in June, the sixth month of the year.
The year will be represented by the next two digits. In this case, “05” tells us this water heater was manufactured in 2005.
With this information, we know that the homeowner should have looked into hot water heater replacement in June of 2015. If they’ve made it to 2017 without issue, they should count themselves lucky and make arrangements to have the water heater replaced before problems inevitably arise.
Rumbling and grumbling
No, we’re not talking about your tummy — but feel free to grab a snack. We’ll wait.
Better? Okay, so back to that water heater.
Rumbling or banging sounds are signs that the water heater is nearing the end of its life.
As a water heater ages, it is normal for sediment to build up inside. This and solidify and harden and then will expand and contract as the water heater heats up, causing the noises you are hearing.
If you’re seeing dirty water coming from your faucets, this might be another symptom of the sediment that is settled at the bottom or a sign that the inside of the water heater is rusting.
Keep in mind that if you have galvanized piping in your house, this might be caused by the pipes rusting, rather than the water heater.
You can easily determine which is the cause by draining several five-gallon buckets of water directly from the water heater. If you are seeing clear water after the first few buckets, it is likely the pipes at fault rather than the water heater.
Which means your water heater will live to see another day — but be sure to get those pipes checked out!
If you’re still ending up with buckets of rusty water, however, it is time to consider hot water heater replacement after all.
Leaks are a sign your home needs hot water heater replacement
If your hot water heater is leaking, it should be a pretty clear sign that there is something wrong with your water heater.
If you find any standing pools of water or signs that there have been water leaks that have since dried, you can rest assured you have a crack somewhere in the water heater.
If there’s no standing water, it is likely that the crack is still small and is only leaking when the water heater is not working.
This is because the water heater cools when it is not in use and the tank will shrink slightly. Often this is just enough to relieve the pressure that was keeping the cracks from leaking.
Don’t wait until you have standing water to address hot water replacement in this situation. Just like with any leaking pipes within your house, puddles or pools of water around the water heater can cause damage to the walls or foundation depending on where the water heater is located.
Low Water Pressure
Low hot water pressure can be a sign of a mineral deposit problem. If there is mineral build up within the hot water heater, these deposits can block the piping that carried the hot water through your house.
If this is the case you may face the unfortunate situation of not only needing to address hot water heater replacement but also needing your pipes to be cleaned or replaced.
You should call a professional plumber to look into the problem for you.
The water isn’t, well, hot
If your hot water isn’t coming out hot, you’re more than likely already aware that you have a problem with your hot water heater.
But you may not know exactly what that problem is.
We’re here to translate for your water heater: it’s time for a hot water heater replacement.
Your trusty water heater is dead and no amount of coaxing is going to bring it back. It’s best to move on and start fresh. But don’t mourn too long — we promise you many happy years with your new water heater.
If you notice any of these signs that your water heater might be on its last leg, it’s best to address the problem as soon as you can.
It’s too easy to justify putting off replacing a water heater that seems to be pulling through with just a few minor hiccups. Unfortunately, some of the things that seem minor to you can actually end up causing some lasting damage to your plumbing system.
If you’re not sure about the next step or whether or not you need to look into hot water heater replacement, reach out to the manufacturer with your concerns. Sometimes the manufacturer can diagnose the problem over the phone.
But more often than not, you’re going to want to get in touch with a local plumber. They will be able to help you determine if the issue is starting with your hot water heater or if there is another source.
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