7 Signs You Need a New Water Heater
You never think about your water heater. It’s hidden away in your furnace room and you take it for granted. Until you wake up one morning, step in the shower and are greeted with a torrent of frigid liquid. Which is why you should watch for these signs to replace it.
- Not enough hot water. The most common sign a water heater is failing is if it is not generating enough hot water. The reason is sediment builds up over time, which separates the water from the heat sources. So, if your shower is not staying hot as long as it used to, that could be an indication you need a new heater.
- Age. The average life of a water heater (note: it is a water heater and not a hot water heater) is about 12 years, with some possibly lasting as long as 17 years. However, if you have not cared for it properly (i.e., drained it every year) or use it a lot, it can go bad sooner. Hopefully you’ve saved the receipt from your purchase, so you know when it was installed. Even if you didn’t you may be able to determine it by looking at the serial number on the sticker. So, if your unit is approaching that age, even if it is working, you might want to act preemptively and replace it before it fails.
- Rusty water. If the water is coming out brown and rusty looking, that means the unit is corroding from the inside and may begin to leak soon. Once that happens, it is very likely that the heater will burst a leak. Of course, rusty water could be the sign of rusty pipes. To be sure, drain a few gallons of hot water directly from the heater. If the water is rusty, then the problem is the heater and not the pipes.
- Smell. Along with the color, you might notice a metallic taste and smell from hot water. That is another sign the heater is failing.
- Leaks. If you notice water puddling around your water heater, that could be a sign that the tank is nearing the end of its life. Even if the leaks are small or it’s just a few drips, that’s a sign that the tank is nearing the end of its life. Of course, you should make sure the leaks are coming from the heater, and not the fittings or connections.
- Rumbling and noise. As that sediment builds up, it hardens, leading to banging or rumbling noises. If you hear those noises, it could be near the end of its life.
- Continued repairs. If you must repair your unit more than once in a six-month span, it may make more sense to buy a new unit than to continue to pour money into one nearing the end of its life.
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