If you’re like most people, your water heater probably gets a rigorous workout daily thanks to showers, baths, laundry, dishwashing, and more. Most tank water heaters are designed to last more than a decade with good care and maintenance, but eventually, you will need to replace yours. Is your water heater nearing the end of its lifespan? Here are some ways to find out.
The first sign that you might need to replace your water heater soon is the age of the unit. How old is yours? If you’re not sure, look up the serial number on the manufacturer sticker. If you can’t find that information easily, check the manufacturer’s website. You might need to start shopping for a new water heater if yours is older than 10 years.
Water from your taps should be clear. If you turn on just the hot water and find that it’s rusty or discolored, that could be a sign that your water heater has corroded on the inside. Rusty tank walls will eventually lead to leaks, so you need to take action quickly before you end up with a disaster.
Thumps, Bangs, and Rumbles
Has your water heater been especially noisy lately? Over time, sediment settles at the bottom of the tank and hardens. Bubbles of hot air form underneath that sediment, and when they pop or make the sediment move, that’s what creates the noises you hear.
The bad news is that your heater is having to work overtime to heat your water and could sustain cracks or other damage that could lead to leaks and equipment failures. While flushing the tank might solve the problem temporarily, if you own an aging unit, it’s probably best to start looking for a replacement.
Leaks and Floods
A leaky water heater might just be a homeowner’s worst nightmare. Not all leaks are a sign of a catastrophic failure, however. A small amount of water could be coming from a damaged gasket or valve, which a plumber can easily repair for you. However, if the water is leaking due to corrosion, it could cause serious damage elsewhere in your home. You will need to replace the water heater before the leak worsens.
Insufficient Hot Water
If your hot showers have gotten shorter over time due to a lack of hot water, it’s probably time for a new water heater. As sediment builds up in your water heater, it decreases the tank’s capacity. As a result, the tank is unable to store as much hot water as it did previously.
When shopping for a new water heater, look for models that feature EnergyStar certification. These models are independently certified and designed to help you save on energy costs and protect the environment. Regular maintenance can ensure a long lifespan for your new water heater.