When is a Good Time to Replace My Water Heater?

It’s a fact of life. Sooner or later, even the best appliances will eventually grow old and have to move on. Yes, this too means your water heater. Sometimes it can be a slow demise. And other times, it can happen quickly and dramatically, resulting in a flooded basement. Based on the manufacturer's service life, your water heater’s timeline can range anywhere from 8 to 12 years. And granted, this too will vary based on the installation, maintenance and the unit itself.

Since the worst time to replace a water heater is the moment you’re in dire need of one, it’s always good to plan ahead. So, with this in mind, here are a few tips to consider when looking at your beloved water heater:

Tip #1: Age
The older the water heater, the more likely it is to break down. Electric water heaters generally last 8-10 years, while gas water heaters may only have a life-span of 6-8 years. If your water heater is getting up there in age, it’s a good idea to start looking at possible wear and tear issues.

Tip #2: Rust and corrosion
Because most hot water tanks are made out of steel, it’s always a good idea to check for any rust or corrosion. If you do find rust or corrosion by the temperature and pressure relief valve, and/or the water inlet and outlet connections, it’s a good indication that your tank is rusting and needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, there’s no way to repair a tank once it has started to corrode. If your tank hasn’t already begun leaking, act quickly. Because it’s only a matter of time.

Tip #3: Clogged drain valve
It’s natural for sediment to build and settle inside the bottom of the tank. Over time, the sediment will breakdown the interior of the tank, and may even clog the drain valve. Flushing your water heater once a year will help prevent damage and extend the life of your water heater.

However, even with proper maintenance there will be a point when the sediment can no longer be drained. When this happens, leaks can/will develop during the draining process.

Tip #4: Leaks
There’s no easy way around this: when a leak occurs in your water heater, it’s usually caused by an internal problem. Unfortunately, there is little to no way to repair these types of leaks. The best option is to determine where the leak is originating. If it’s from the tank itself, you’re more than likely going to need a new water heater.

Tip #5: Water temperature
If the hot water you’re used to having is anything but – your water heater could be to blame. There could be several different mechanical reasons why your water heater is underperforming. It could be the heating element, or it could be the electrical draw from your house – in this scenario it’s best to consult your Lexington plumber on next steps.

Of course, if you have any questions about your water heater or if you need help call Dauenhauer, any hour.