How Can You Tell When It’s Time to Replace Your Water Heater?

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Phil Puccio

The water heater is an indispensable device that faithfully performs its important work every day and without much notice – until it is no longer as reliable as it used to be. However, it is easier said than done to determine when to repair it will not be economical or when you need to be proactive and replace it before your water heater fails completely. Fortunately, there are tell-tale signs to look out for and consider when making your decision to purchase a new device.

During our State-certified master plumber at Adam and Son plumbing have extensive experience answering emergency calls from water heaters that suddenly leak and / or empty their contents across the entire utility room floor, we’d rather be the stress-free homeowners in central Florida. Here’s what you need to know to avoid the hassle and added expense.

How To Know Before Problems Occur – How Old Is Your Water Heater?

The average lifespan of a typical electric hot water tank is 10 to 15 years; that of a gas storage water heater is eight to 12 years. Tankless models can last for 20 to 30 years.

But what if you don’t know the age of your water heater – what if it was there when you bought your home? On a model tank, one surefire way is to check the serial number. This can usually be found on the manufacturer’s sticker in the upper half of the tank. But as if it were complicated for the average homeowner, it’s listed in the code. Deciphering the serial number can be difficult as it differs depending on the manufacturer. Hot water solutions offers a helpful guide to understand everything.

When you know your water heater is nearing the end of its useful life, you can plan accordingly. You have time to compare and choose the model that best suits the size of your home and your family’s average hot water consumption. You may even be able to switch from tank to tankless. This is a far better situation than having to replace your device in an emergency when you have to take everything that is available with you.

Has a problem started? Here are the signs to look out for!

While a leak is the most obvious sign, it’s not really a sign – it’s the emergency mentioned above. Moisture or a puddle on the bottom of the device means you don’t have the luxury of walking around. Replace immediately! Leaks are usually caused by a pressure build-up in the tank. This occurs when the water pressure or temperature is too high, or the pressure relief valve does not work properly. If a leak is neglected, the tank can explode. Do we have to say more?

One of the first signs of trouble can be a sudden spike in your electricity bill. If there is no other cause (e.g. a pipe leak), Your device may use extra energy to provide the same amount of hot water. When this happens, look for the other signs below:

Rusty or cloudy water – Water discoloration is a clear sign that your device is underperforming. Rust-colored water or water with a metallic odor can mean a lot. Either Sacrificial anode rod needs to be replaced or the tank itself begins to rust, often due to corrosion of the steel lining. A rotten egg smell indicates the growth of bacteria in the tank. A corroded tank must be replaced as soon as possible. Cloudy water often indicates a build-up of sediment in the tank, and if the water stays cold a heating element can break. If so, the heating element can be replaced. However, be aware that the replacement time may be near.

Rusty pipes – Rust can also come from the pipe that carries water to your taps. Regardless of the source, there is an urgent need to address the problem as it is a hygiene issue. To check if the problem is with your water heater or your plumbing, you can open your hot water tap and let it run for some time. If the rusty water continues to flow on the third bucket load, it means that the rust problem is in the water heater.

Rusty valve / inlet – If you see rust around the water inlet or pressure relief valve, it means there is rust in the tank. It also means it’s time to replace the device asap.

Knocking noises – If you hear loud noises from your water heater, it means that sediment has formed in the tank. As the sediment hardens, it can move around in the tank and create these unwanted noises.

Once sediment builds up in your water heater, it will use more energy to heat the same amount of water. The knock is yet another sign that your water heater has served you faithfully for a lifetime. If you want to extend the life of your water heater, flush and clean your tank regularly (or call a plumber do the job).

Cold water – If the water heater delivers cold water instead, a triggered limit switch, an incorrectly set thermostat or a defective heating element may be the cause. First, check the water heater’s circuit breaker in the MP to make sure it hasn’t tripped. If the circuit breaker has tripped, turn it off and then on again. If the heater circuit breaker has not tripped (it is still on), try the High temperature limit on the heater. Our blog post – “Why does my hot water never last long enough?”- provides troubleshooting tips and how to tell when it’s time call a plumber.

Another reason could be that the water heater is too small to provide enough hot water for your household’s needs. If the size of your household has increased recently, you may need a larger capacity tank.

Repair or Replace? What type of water heater is best for your home?

There are instances when your water heater can be repaired. Some of the replaceable parts include the burner assembly, heating elements, thermostats, valves, thermocouples, motors, and igniters.

You can consider having your water heater repaired if it is less than 10 years old and a replaceable part fails. However, if it’s over 10 years old, you haven’t serviced it properly, or are seeing any of the signs above, consider replacing it. Repairs are usually not economical if the device has reached its average useful life.

Since a water heater is an important investment, this is something you need to consider Which type is best for your home based on cost, efficiency and longevity. Traditional storage tank units are still the most popular. However, instantaneous water heaters are enjoying increasing popularity.

Instantaneous water heaters use high power burners to quickly heat water as it flows through a heat exchanger and deliver it directly to your faucets or showers without storing it in a tank, delivering hot water as needed. Instantaneous water heaters are operated with electricity or gas. One of its main advantages is energy efficiency as it has been tested by. were on average 22% more energy-efficient than gas-powered storage models Consumer reports.

Water heaters for storage tanks are more common. They have an insulated tank that can hold 30 to 50 gallons of water. These water heaters run on gas or electricity. Hot water storage tanks with natural gas storage are more energy efficient (almost 50%) than their electrical counterparts. Natural gas storage water heaters are slightly more expensive than electric models. These water heaters also have a temperature and pressure release valve that opens if the pressure or temperature rises above the specified limit.

Compared to storage water heaters, homeowners who have a water heater and use less than 41 gallons or less of water per day can save between 24% and 34% in energy costs. If you use around 86 liters of hot water every day, you can still save 8 to 14% on energy costs. In addition, instant water heaters are less prone to corrosion compared to storage units. Another plus: the lack of a tank eliminates the possibility of a catastrophic water leak which can damage floors, furniture, etc.

The US Department of Energy has estimated that a gas-fired water heater can save an average of $ 108 in energy costs each year compared to a traditional gas-fired hot water heater. An electric tankless model can save an average of $ 44 each year over its traditional tank counterpart.

Instantaneous water heaters can save you money in the long run, have a longer lifespan, don’t take up too much space and can provide you with hot water instantly. However, this type is more expensive than storage water heater, installation is more complex and expensive, and may not be able to keep up with demand when doing multiple tasks that require hot water at the same time.

Storage water heaters are not that expensive, and their maintenance and repairs are less expensive. However, storage water heaters are less energy efficient, take up more space, can only store a limited amount of hot water and have a shorter lifespan compared to a model without a water heater.

The take-home message

Now that you know how to fix or replace it – plus the pros and cons of storage and water heaters – you can (hopefully) choose your next unit based on the factors and features that you think are important. instead of being forced.

Whether your water heater needs to be repaired or you want to replace it, give us a call! Adam and Son plumbing is a family business with over 50 years in installation Service. As a state-certified plumber, we have more than three generations of experience as a plumber. Contact us to find out more and to arrange a service appointment.

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