Hot water heaters can be expensive and challenging to replace, so most homeowners try to keep them for as long as possible. However, there comes a time when even the thriftiest of homeowners might need to replace their hot water heater. When you’re trying to decide whether you want to get a new hot water heater, consider whether you have noticed any of these signs lately.
Your Heater Is Getting Older
The average residential hot water heater will last somewhere between 6-13 years. This does not necessarily mean your hot water heater will collapse in a pile of corrosion and rust the second it reaches this age. However, if your hot water heater is at the end of its lifespan, you’re more likely to have problems. Many homeowners prefer to replace their heater at this point, so they get a new one before the old one breaks down.
If you installed your current hot water heater, you might remember its age yourself. However, if you moved into a place that already had a heater, finding the age can be tricky. Start by checking the machine. Some machines will have a tag or sticker with the installation date. If you cannot find this, check for the model number. You can look up this number to see when the heater was manufactured.
You Want to Save Energy
It takes a lot of power to heat water, so water heaters are one of the largest users of energy in a home. If you’re tired of spending a lot of money on electricity or gas, you might want to rethink your current appliances. If your machine is older, it might be using way too much energy.
There are a lot of modern alternatives that can save you money. If you have an electric water heater, you might want to switch to gas. Gas heaters tend to cost less to operate. Another option is a tankless water heater. These use on-demand heating, so they save energy by not trying to keep a massive tank of water hot all the time. Even if you stick with a traditional electric tank heater, getting a new one can save energy. Modern heaters are far more energy efficient. In many cases, the cost of replacing your heater is offset by how much you save on energy.
You Don’t Have Enough Hot Water for Your Needs
Sometimes, a hot water heater technically works fine, but it just doesn’t suit your unique needs. This often happens when larger families move into a home that previously just had one or two occupants. Homeowners pick the smallest size possible because it saves energy, but the machine struggles to keep up once more people are using it. An undersized hot water heater leads to chilly showers, dishes that are hard to clean, or washing machines that don’t work properly.
To find the right-size hot water heater, you need to start by considering the number of people in your home. More people mean you need a larger tank. Next, think about hot water usage. If everyone in the home wants a hot shower while the dishwasher runs, you will need a tank that produces more hot water. Meanwhile, if you plan on staggering hot water usage throughout the day, a big tank might not be as necessary. The type of tank also affects how much water it outputs. Therefore, it can be helpful to get a professional recommendation when trying to find the right tank size.
You Notice Rust Around Your Heater
Hot water tanks are made of steel, and when steel spends a lot of time around water, rust is inevitable. Over time, rust and corrosion will start to eat through the metal of your tank. If you see rust around your water inlet or pressure relief valve, it’s a sign that the interior of your tank is filled with rust. At this point, there’s no easy repair to replace all the damaged metal. If you don’t replace your tank soon, a leak will most likely occur.
Rust in your heater can do more than just cause unpleasant leaks. It can also result in problems for you. If you notice rusty water coming from your pipes, consider the source. A quick burst of rust that flows away after a second or two just means your pipes have some buildup. However, if your hot water remains rusty, the source of the rust might be in your tank. This can make water taste bad, stain your clothes and sinks, and potentially make you sick.
You Hear Strange Noises Coming From Your Heater
When you start to heat up water, do you hear strange rumbling or banging noises? These sounds can start out as a minor inconvenience, but eventually, they can be noisy enough to startle you awake in the middle of the night. Noises from your water heater are more than just an inconvenience. They are a sign that sediment is forming on the bottom of your tank. This sediment impedes regular tank functioning, and over time, it can damage the tank.
You can prevent sediment buildup from happening by regularly flushing your water heater tank. However, if you have never done this before and your machine is very old, you might be too late. An extremely noisy tank is often an indication that the metal of the tank is damaged and brittle. At this point, it’s somewhat likely that a leak may occur.
Your Heater Is Broken and Repairs Are Pricey
When you notice a problem with your hot water heater, your first instinct is probably to call a repair person and get the machine fixed. It’s true that many common problems can be fixed without having to replace the whole machine. However, there comes a point in time when repairs are not worth it. Water heaters have several essential components that are difficult and pricey to replace. In some cases, the cost for repairs might be more than the cost of a new machine altogether.
You should also keep in mind that older water heaters will need to be replaced soon. Even a more affordable repair might not be worth it if you’re just going to have to replace your heater in a few months. If your hot water heater is more than three years old, almost any pricey repair is a bad idea. A good rule of thumb is to get an estimate and compare that price to the price of a new heater. If the cost of a repair is more than half the cost of a new heater, you might as well just replace the faulty equipment.
If you think it might be time to change your hot water heater, Reactive Plumbing is here to help. Our team of plumbers in Dural can assist you with exploring your options, finding the right hot water heater, and getting it installed. We also help with all sorts of other plumbing repairs and installations, including clogged drains, burst pipes, and broken taps. Call us today to schedule your next appointment.