You may be wondering when you should replace your water heater, especially if it’s getting a little older. A traditional tanked water heater usually lasts about 5 to 10 years depending on wear. A tankless water heater, like the Navien and Stiebel Eltron models we sell, can last much longer with lifespans of about 20 years. If you have a whole-home water filtration system, your water heater could last much longer because hard water buildup causes quite a bit of wear and tear on water heaters. In this article we’ll go over the signs that your water heater needs to be replaced.
Noises coming from water heater
Banging, tapping, buzzing, or knocking sounds coming from your hot water tank is typically caused by sediment buildup. Sediment buildup in water heaters is mostly made up of calcium. This is because calcium carbonate is a regular part of treated drinking water, but levels of calcium carbonate can be reduced by a water filtration system. Calcium deposits that knock around in your water heater tank cause those tapping noises and eventually will do irreparable damage to the tank. Those knocking sounds coming from your water heater could lead to leaks as the small rock-like chunks of sediment buildup chip and tear away at the inside of your water heater tank. Luckily, this can be remedied by draining the tank if it’s caught early. If the banging noises have been happening for a long time, the damage may already be done and you could have to call a plumber to replace your unit.
If your cold water is clear but the hot water is cloudy, your water heater may not be functioning properly. Specifically, your water heater’s anode rod is probably not working the way it should. The anode rod in your water heater is designed to release electrons into the water in the tank to prevent corrosion and rust. Cloudy hot water is usually caused by an excess of rust and corrosion in the tank and is a good indicator that your anode rod needs to be replaced. A plumber will be able to tell you if it really is the anode rod. If there is too much corrosion and rust in your water heater, then the entire unit may need to be replaced.
Water is not hot enough or not hot at all
If your hot water isn’t hot then it’s likely something is going wrong with your water heater. But what if the water is still warm but just not as hot as it used to be? There are several causes for lukewarm water, and some of them can be resolved with a simple repair, while more serious causes will require you to replace the entire water heater.
Sediment Build Up
Sediment build up caused by hard water will slowly make it more and more difficult for your water heater’s burner to effectively heat the water in the tank. Like we mentioned above, simple sediment build up can be managed with repairs and routine plumbing maintenance. But, if it’s left for too long, you may be in need of a replacement due to the damage caused by sediment build up.
A functioning water heater relies on all of its parts to heat water efficiently. Small parts like valves, lines, and dip tubes can typically be easily repaired or replaced to have your water heater back up and running in no time. if you have an electric water heater, a broken heating element could be why your water heater is not heating water. But, don’t worry, heating elements can be replaced too!
Gas & Water Leaks
If you have a gas water heater, it’s important to have a professional assess whether your water heater has a gas leak. This could become very dangerous for everyone in the home, so it’s better to be safe and call a plumber if you think a gas leak could be the cause of your lukewarm or cold water. On the other hand, a leak in your water tank itself could be why your unit is not heating water properly. If a water leak truly is the root of your problem, you’ll most likely have to replace your entire water heater. These can be dangerous repairs to attempt on your own, so be sure to call an experienced plumber if your water heater is leaking.
The water heater is older than 10 years (20 for tankless models)
Don’t get too attached to that old water heater. They’re not built to last forever, and if yours is older than 10 years then you may have to say goodbye soon. The good news is that newer water heaters are much more energy efficient than their 10- and 20-year-old ancestors, so you can look forward to spending less on your energy bills! Your power or water utility company may even offer rebates and incentives for replacing that old water heater with a newer energy efficient model. Just ask your local plumbing company!
Be sure to keep an eye and ear out for these signs it’s time to replace your water heater. If you do find yourself in need of a water heater replacement or a repair, don’t hesitate to reach out! Air & Energy is a family-owned and operated company providing air conditioning, plumbing, electrical, and generator services to residents in Manatee County, FL for over 39 years.
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