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Hot water is an easy thing to take for granted. You turn on the hot water tap and it’s there for you! Water heaters last a relatively long time with little need for maintenance, plus they’re usually tucked away, and as they say: out of sight, out of mind.
As a result, it’s easy for problems with your water heater to sneak up on you. If you’re thinking about it now, though, you probably have your doubts about how much longer yours will last. Here are a few signs that it might be time to start thinking about water heater replacement.
One of the first signs of a failing water heater is finding water around it. Usually if you find a little bit of water or signs of moisture damage, it’s not going to be long before it’s a lot more than a little! Tank-style water heaters are subject to corrosion since they hold water all the time, and after a while that can weaken the seams and fixtures, causing the tank to start leaking. If you notice your tank is leaking, it’s best to get it replaced pronto, before the leak turns into a flood!
As we already noted, though, water heaters are often a case of out of sight, out of mind. It’s not unusual for the first signs of a leak to go unnoticed, since you don’t often look in on your water heater. If this sounds like you, you might benefit from a leak detector set up near your water heater. This handy little sensor will let you know when it’s getting to be time for a water heater replacement.
If you’re seeing signs of rust, that’s another sign that the corrosion inside your tank is getting to be advanced enough that it’s time to replace the water heater. Signs of rust may include discolored water when you turn on the hot, or water with a metallic smell to it. The best way to test and make sure that the rust is coming from your water heater and not the pipes themselves is to fill several buckets of just hot water, and then fill several buckets with just cold water. If it’s time for a water heater replacement, you’ll see signs of rust only in the buckets of hot water.
Your water heater may be out of sight, out of mind, but if it keeps making noises that remind you it’s there, it may be nearing the end of its life. Rumbling or banging coming from the water heater may mean that there has been a lot of sediment buildup on the heating element, which impacts its ability to heat the water. And if the sediment buildup is bad enough to cause a lot of noise, chances are it’s all over the inside of the tank too. There’s no real way to remove this sediment, making water heater replacement your best option… preferably before the tank starts leaking too.
The single best indicator that your water heater needs to be replaced is its age. It’s generally not a matter of whether they will fail, it’s a matter of when… and how much of your home they will damage in the process. Replacing an older water heater can therefore be a solid way to prevent more serious problems.
In general, you should replace your water heater if it’s older than 10 or 12 years. If you can’t remember when you last replaced it, or if you don’t know because it was already there when you moved in, you can find out how old it is by checking the label on the unit.
Prevent Water Damage: Plan Ahead
Most homeowners find out their water heater is failing when it springs a leak, and the resulting water damage is the last thing you want. Check your water heater regularly for these signs that it might be on its way to failing, and your ounce of prevention might just save you many gallons’ worth of water cleanup. To talk to an experienced technician about replacing your water heater, call Maeser today.