Hot showers are like coffee; they’re great in the morning and especially welcome during cold, harsh weather. We probably don’t give it too much thought in general, but almost everything we do—from cooking to washing to laundering—requires a bit of warm water. The downside to this, unfortunately, is that your water heater goes through extreme wear and tear with this much usage.
Don’t wait for it to break down completely before rushing to get a new one. Know when to swap out your water heater for a newer model by noticing these six signs:
1. There are Unusual Noises from the Unit
It’s not unusual for your water heater to make some noise when running. However, when there’s cracking and popping coming from your unit—or in most other appliances, for that matter—it’s usually not a good sign.
In your heater’s case, it might mean sedimentary build-up. As your water heater gets old, residue starts to accumulate inside, and the hardened sediments will eventually bang against the unit. When this happens, your heater may a replacement or a tank flush installed. In either case, it’s best to call in the experts to know which option should be done.
2. Your Water Heater is Celebrating its Nth Year
Water heaters usually last up to 10 or 15 years, depending on use and quality. If you don’t perform routine maintenance on your unit and it’s nearing its average lifespan, it is definitely time for a replacement.
If you’re not sure how old your water heater is, you can usually check the manufacturer’s sticker for the serial number, which will typically begin with a letter followed by a set of numbers. The first two numbers preceding usually refers to the manufacture year. For instance, D138976543 where the D is the fourth month of the year—April—and the 13 is actually 2013.
3. Your Water Heater is Leaking
A leaky water heater is definitely a problem. When hot water passes through metal, it causes it to expand and later contract. Older, overused water heaters may give way when this happens often enough, causing the water to drip out and puddle underneath. In most cases, you’ll have to get a new water heater installed.
However, knowing which one is leaking—the unit itself or the pipes attached to it—is the tricky part. Before purchasing a replacement heater, you’ll have to have an expert take a look and let you know.
4. It’s Dispensing Cold or Lukewarm water
When your water heater stops doing its one job and starts doing something else, you’re facing one of three scenarios: 1) you’ve misadjusted the thermostat; 2) your unit is too small for your household use, or 3) the unit is broken.
While a misadjusted thermostat can easily be corrected, you’ll have to call your plumbers in scenarios two and three. Unfortunately, you can’t just try and fix it yourself by opening up your heater, as that might worsen the problem and leave your home with a dysfunctional water heater altogether.
Warm water is a luxury that many people can afford but don’t know how to maintain. It’ll be especially problematic if your water heater clonks out on you during the cold months of the year. To ensure everything stays in tip-top shape before, during, and after a replacement, always call the professionals to get things done.