Your water heater is one of the most reliable and longest-lasting appliances you have in your home.
Even then, it certainly won’t last forever! So when is the right time to replace your water heater?
As with any other appliance in your home, regular maintenance will help it to work more efficiently and have a longer lifespan.
If you do take good care of your water heater, you can expect it to last 8–10 years.
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If you find that your water heater is not heating properly, then a repair may be a better solution than purchasing a new unit. However, there will come a time when you will need to buy a new water heater.
Time to Repair
Drips and Leaks
Your water heater may experience leaks in two places: the pressure-relief valve or the pipes. If it’s the former, then replace the valve. If the pipes are leaking, then first tighten the connections. If that doesn’t eradicate the problem, then replace the fittings. However, remember to turn off the water first!
Water Temperature Is Too Low
A common complaint about water heaters is that the water isn’t heating to the temperature you’d prefer. In this case, you’ll want to troubleshoot some common problems to see if the issue can be remedied.
Whether you have a gas or electric water heater, ensure that the unit is receiving power. Is the breaker tripped? Is the pilot light on? Then flush the water to remove any sediment and then insulate the pipes.
You may need to replace the thermostat, or the gas valve on a gas water heater. Then increase the temperature on the thermostat to see if that solves the problem.
Time to Replace
Age of Unit
If your water heater is older than a decade, it may be simpler to buy new than to repair your existing unit. If you moved into your home less than 10 years ago, then you likely don’t know the age of your water heater. Most of the time you can find the age by looking at the serial number.
The serial number will have a letter followed by about 10 numbers. The letter stands for the month. You’ll have to do some math and count where that letter lands in the alphabet.
For example, H is the eighth number in the alphabet, so that means it represents the eighth month: August. The next two numbers represent the year, so 13 would be 2013.
If you’re unsure of how to check for the year, give Forrest Anderson a call! Tell them the make, model, and serial number of your unit and they will help you date your water heater.
When you turn on the water, is it coming out of the faucets in a yucky reddish-brown color? If water is this rusty color regardless of the temperature, then you may have a rusty pipe issue.
However, if you are only seeing discolored hot water, while the cold water is running clear, it’s more than likely an issue with the water heater.
Rusty hot water is a sign that the water heater is degrading. This isn’t an issue that can be fixed, so you’ll need to replace the unit at this point.
Rattling and Noises
In some cases, draining and flushing the water heater can eliminate the noises. Sediment may have collected in the bottom of the tank, leading to rattling and hissing.
Especially if you live in an area with hard water, your tank may have collected scale. So remove the components and clean them (white vinegar works well) and replace.
If you cannot get rid of the sediment or the scale is too encrusted, then it’s time to buy a new water heater. With too much sediment or scale, the water heater’s efficiency will drastically decrease.
It will take more energy to heat the water driving your utility expenses higher. Over time, this will lead to increased damage.
Trust Your Gut
You will find that some unscrupulous plumbing companies will encourage you to replace, even if the heater is in perfectly fine condition. Know the facts about your water heater and what common problems are.
This will help you to determine whether or not the company is just trying to make more money off you.
You can trust the professionals at Forrest Anderson; we always tell you the truth!
If your water heater can be repaired, we will do that. If it’s better to replace, then we’ll tell you that too! Call us to schedule your inspection and know that you’ll hear the real deal.