Most people have no idea how old their hot water system is or the last time it was replaced. Most water heaters last between 10 and 15 years. If yours is older or you aren’t sure when it was last replaced, it may be nearing the end of its life.
When hot water heaters go bust they tend to do so without warning, you can avoid the disruption and damage of a failing water heater. Here are 6 indicators that your water heater may be on its last legs.
1. Find out how old your water heater is.
Every heater has details of the specific model on the manufacturer’s sticker which should be at the upper portion of the water heater, on gas units the sticker might be allocated behind the access door next to the main burner. The first set of numbers indicated the month and year the system was manufactured. Use the details to determine your age and warranty.
2. Water quality
Muddy or sandy water can be a sign of sediment build up in your tank. In some cases you can drain the contents to remove sediment and bring your water heater back to normal.
When you turn on the hot water, it has a metallic smell and taste to it. This is a sign that the water heater is breaking down, with grit and flakes from the inner tank combining with your water supply.You’ll discover rusty water coming from your water heater and it only comes from the hot side, this is a sign that your water heater is rusting from the inside and will start to leak soon.
How often do you use hot water in your home? A home with a family of six that actively uses hot water all day long will have a water heater with a shorter life than an individual living alone and frequently not at home due to travel arrangements.
5. Noise Problems
Noise is always an indicator. If you hear your water heater – loud cracks and pops for instance – it may be an indication that the interaction between the heating elements and the inside heater has mineral build up on them.
Leaks are never a good thing. If you notice water puddling around your water heater, or it leaks when standing, it’s a sign the inner tank has reached the end of its life. Slow drips and leaks quickly escalate, causing serious flooding if the entire tank breaks.
When something keeps breaking, causing problems, or otherwise gives you trouble and your repairs start adding up, it’s a sign that more problems are sure to come. And when that happens, sometimes your best route is to replace it before serious damage impacts your life.
If you are concerned about water heater failure or if you discover any of the signs above, contact your plumber asap.