Your hot water heater works hard every time you turn on the faucet. From showers, baths and hand washing to cooking, laundry and dishes, your water heater efficiently meets your needs many times a day. You can prolong the life of your heater with annual maintenance, but eventually, this appliance will need replacing. How do you know when you need a new hot water tank? The following are some signs that it’s time to replace your hot water heater.
- It’s getting old: Most hot water heaters last from 8 to 10 years. After this time frame, the chance of a leak and subsequent water damage increases significantly. Manufacturers recommend that you change your heater every 10 years. To determine how old your appliance is, locate the manufacturer’s sticker. The first two digits of the serial number represent the year your heater was made.
- Rusty water: If you turn on your taps to discover a rusty flavour, a red tint or a metallic odour, your hot water heater may need replacing. Check your heater to see if you have rust around the water inlet or pressure relief valve. Drain several buckets of hot water from your tank. If the water still comes out red by the third bucket, rust has built up in your appliance and a leak may soon occur. Replace your water heater quickly!
- Loud Noises: Loud rumbling or banging noises are an indication of sediment build up in your water tank. Have a plumber perform a tank flush. If the sounds continue, sediment has likely hardened in your water heater causing it to heat inefficiently and signalling that it’s at the end of its lifespan.
- Leaking: If the water pressure or temperature in your appliance is too high, the relief valve is not working properly, you have small cracks in your tank and/or the fittings or connections are loose, leaks can occur. Moisture or puddles around the water heater’s base and/or water corrosion on the side of your tank are signs of a leak. Don’t ignore these indicators as leaks can lead to an explosion and damage to your home. Have a plumber come and examine the issue.
- Inadequate Heating: If your water no longer comes out hot or is only hot some of the time, check the thermostat on your hot water heater to see if it needs adjusting. If the thermostat is fine, have a plumber determine if you need a new heating element. If both the thermostat and the element are functioning, the demands of your family are exceeding the limits of your heater. You’ll need to install a hot water heater equipped to meet the usage demands of your household.
- The pilot light turns off: As a hot water tank ages, the pilot light has a tendency to go out. If this happens regularly, it’s time to replace the tank.
Have a qualified plumber inspect your hot water tank annually. With regular maintenance, your appliance should last between 8 to 10 years. If you note any of the signs that your tank is not performing efficiently, have an inspection done. It may be a small problem that’s simple to fix or it may be time to replace your hot water heater.
If your hot water heater is showing signs that it’s at the end of its lifespan, ask for an inspection. It may be something small and easy to fix! If you need a replacement, we can help you decide on a new tank or whether a tankless option might be better for you. If your water heater needs to be replaced, our plumbers can help.