A water heater is one of those home-appliances that many of us take for granted – until something goes wrong. From taking showers to cleaning loads of laundry, we rely upon our water heaters to help us with crucial tasks and conveniences every day. Unfortunately, most people are unlikely to consider whether they need to replace their water heater before the moment when their current one fails.
The process of delivering hot water throughout your home consists of much more than meets the eye. There are various parts within your heater that must work together to warm the water you need for various household chores and activities. When something goes wrong, it would be dangerous to attempt a quick fix yourself, and if you believe that your hot water heater needs replacing, the best thing you can do is approach a professional as early as possible. So how exactly do you decide whether it might be time to upgrade or replace your water heater?
How Old Is Your Model?
One of the first things you should consider when determining the longevity and condition of your current water heater is how old the model is. You can find the age by searching for the manufacturer’s sticker, and writing down the serial number printed there. This serial number will show the date that the water heater was manufactured, but you won’t recognize the writing immediately. The date will use a code that begins with something like E04. The “E” indicates the month, and as the fifth letter of the alphabet, equates to the fifth month – May. The following two digits will represent the year, for instance, 2004. In general, most manufacturers recommend that anyone with a water heater more than ten years old should consider replacing it.
How Does The Water Look?
As time passes, you may begin to notice a strange discoloration within your water, or hot water that appears to be particularly “rusty” in smell and hue. Though rusty water isn’t always an indication that your water heater is failing, it can be a sign that the tank is rusting inside, and could begin to leak soon. On the other hand, rusty water may suggest that you are suffering from rusty galvanized piping.
How Does The Water Feel?
If you think it’s taking longer than normal for hot water to get to your bathroom taps, or the water you are getting isn’t as hot as it once was, this could be a bad sign for your heater. Warm, rather than hot water could be an indication that the heating element in your system has burned out. Do remember that it is also possible for water to be cooler because you haven’t set your thermostat at the right temperature, or because there is a lack of appropriate power to the heating elements in your system.
How Does Your Water Heater Sound?
It’s difficult to ignore a water heater that’s constantly creaking, banging, knocking, and whining. Most of the time, these noise related issues are a result of sediment that has been allowed to build up within the water tank. As the debris comes in contact with the heating element of your model, it burns away, leading to a significant amount of sound. This could be a sign that the heating element has burned out – meaning you could need a water heater replacement.
Is There Evidence of Leaking?
If you begin to notice water around your heater, then the chances are you’re dealing with a small fracture in the tank. As the metal of the tank heats over time, then water may leak from it, reducing your heater efficiency. Unfortunately, there isn’t any simple way to fix a leaking hot water tank, meaning that your only solution will be to replace the model as quickly as possible in order to avoid the threat of flooding. However, try to make sure that before you replace your entire system, there are no other leaks coming from fittings or connections to the tank.
Don’t Take Your Water Heater For Granted
The best way to avoid expensive and inconvenient issues with your water heater at the worst possible times, is to ensure that you keep a close eye on your system, and note any issues that may need maintenance. Remember that although your water heater can last for a long time with proper care, it will need replacing eventually.