There are many situations that can lead to water heater replacement. Some of the most popular reasons people replace their water heater are: age, leaks, or failure to work.
One of the first signs that your water heater needs replacement is a leak. Leaks can be hard to see as they often happen under sinks or behind walls. The easiest way to check for a leak is by putting food coloring in your tank and wait 15 minutes. If you see color in your household pipes, then you have a leak and need to replace your water heater as soon as possible!
Water heaters also reach their lifespan and need replacement after 10-15 years of use on average. When the lifespan is up, the efficiency is down and it’s time for a new one!
Signs You Need a Water Heater Replacement
Here are three signs that you might need a water heater replacement, along with a few basic and essential maintenance tips to prevent problems in the first place.
- Heater is Over a Decade Old
Unlike a fine wine, water heaters do not improve with age. Like all mechanical appliances, they have a lifespan. If you’ve been noticing worsening problems that get more expensive to fix each time, perhaps it’s time to thank the water heater for its service and invest in a new model.
2. Rusty-colored Water
First, make sure the cause of rusty, brown water in your heater isn’t due to:
- Copper or plastic water supply lines
- Temporary disturbances in the public water supply
- A nearby break in a city-operated water main or fire hydrant
- Built-up sediment in your water heater
- A deteriorated anode rod
Unfortunately, all other signs point to corrosion inside the water heater. The vast majority of the time, the only remedy for this particular issue is replacement.
3. Limited Hot Water (Or None At All)
If limited hot water is a chronic problem in your household and not a sudden occurrence, your current heater may simply be too small for your usage needs. Purchasing a new unit with a larger tank or investing in a tankless, on-demand model can remedy this issue immediately. Check that the lack of hot water isn’t due to these other fixable problems:
- Thermostat issues (try resetting the thermostat)
- Broken dip tube
- Built-up sediment
If none of these seem to be the case, it may be time to replace your water heater. An old or poorly maintained water heater develops a faulty heating system over time, and its performance will only deteriorate as time goes on.
Maintenance is Key to Avoid Expensive Repairs
In addition to booking annual plumbing services, there are a few basic, essential maintenance tasks and efficiency rules you can undertake to extend the life of your water heater.
- Adjust the water heater’s thermostat to no more than 120 degrees
- Drain a quarter of the tank a few times a year to flush out debris and sediment. Rinse until the water runs clear.
- Inspect the anode rod annually (or have a plumber check it during your annual service).
- When leaving town, adjust the thermostat on gas heaters to “vacation” setting, which maintains the pilot light without heating the water.
- Insulate your hot and cold water pipes. Older water heater models may also benefit from insulation.
Schedule Your Water Heater Replacement
Here at Shepherd’s Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning, we are committed to providing you with plumbing services that last. Give us a call today at 650-459-4557 for any questions about our reputable plumbing services.