It’s not often that you have to worry about how long your water heater will last – but when the time comes, it’s important to know. The average lifespan of a water heater is 8-12 years, but there are many factors that can effect how long it will actually last. In this blog post, we’ll talk about what those factors are and how to tell when your water heater needs to be replaced so that you can be sure to always have hot water.
Note: If you’re not a professional plumber, we do NOT recommend attempting to replace or perform maintenance on an aging water heater. This is a complex and potentially dangerous job that should only be performed by a licensed professional.
How to know when your water heater is too old…
If a water heater is more than a decade old, it’s probably time to start thinking about replacing it. This is especially true if you notice any of the following signs:
- Your water heater is making strange noises
- Your water isn’t as hot as it used to be
- There is water leaking from your water heater
- You have rust colored water
All of these signs could potentially be indicative of a larger problem, so it’s always best to call a professional if you’re unsure. Typically, though, if you’re experiencing one or all of these problems, it’s time for a new water heater.
Rust buildup on your water heater
Rust building up on your water heater is one of the most common signs that it’s time for a replacement. Over time, the water in your tank will start to corrode the metal, causing rust to form. This not only weakens the tank and makes it more likely to leak, but it can also cause your water to become contaminated with rust particles.
The reason this happens is because of sediments that build up in the bottom of the tank over time. These sediments can come from a variety of sources, including minerals in the water and rust particles that flake off of the inside of the tank. As these sediments accumulate, they start to act as a barrier between the water and the metal of the tank. This causes the water to become more corrosive, which leads to rust buildup.
If you notice rust on your water heater, it’s important to call a professional right away. Rust can cause serious damage to your plumbing and lead to costly repairs.
Noises coming from your water heater
A noisy water heater is another common sign that it’s time for a replacement. The most common noise is a banging or knocking sound, which is caused by sediments that have built up in the bottom of the tank. As the water heats up, these sediments expand and contract, causing them to bang against the metal of the tank.
Other common noises include:
These noises are usually indicative of a problem with the burner or heating element. If you hear any of these noises coming from your water heater, it’s important to call a professional right away as they can be dangerous. If left untreated, they can cause serious damage to your water heater and surrounding plumbing fixtures.
Leaking water heater
A leaking water heater is one of the most serious problems that can occur. If you notice water leaking from your water heater, it’s important to call a professional right away. Leaks can cause serious damage to your home and lead to costly repairs.
There are a few different reasons why water heaters leak, but the most common is due to a cracked tank. As water heaters age, the metal of the tank starts to break down and corrode. This can cause the tank to develop cracks, which will allow water to leak out. Another common reason for leaks is a faulty pressure relief valve. This valve is designed to release pressure from the tank if it gets too high. However, if the valve is damaged or broken, it can cause water to leak out.
If you notice a leak, it’s important to shut off the water to your home and call a professional right away. Leaks can cause serious damage to your home and lead to costly repairs.
Water is not hot
If the water from your water heater is not as hot as it used to be, it’s probably time for a replacement. Over time, the heating element in your water heater will start to break down and become less effective. This will cause the water from your tap to be cooler than usual.
If you begin to notice that the water from your tap is not as hot as it used to be, it’s important to call a professional right away. They can inspect your water heater and determine if it needs to be replaced, or if you’re just looking at a simple, quick repair or adjustment to the thermostat.
When to replace your water heater…
If you’re experiencing multiple of the above problems, it’s probably time to replace your water heater. Water heaters are typically designed to last for about 15 years. However, this can vary depending on a number of different factors, including the quality of the unit, how often it’s used, how well it’s maintained, and the water quality in your home. Professional plumbers and water heater installers know that a more typical lifespan for any water heater installed in a residential home is between 8-12 years, and depending on usage, some may not even last that long.
If your water heater is over 15 years old, or you’re starting to experience multiple problems, it’s probably time for a replacement. Call a professional today to have them inspect your water heater and determine if it needs to be replaced.