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Plumbing Articles from Aurora, CO
5 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Broken Water Heater
Do you suspect your water heater might be going?
Unless you like taking cold showers and washing your dishes with cold water, having a broken water heater is a major inconvenience.
It’s tough to know whether the problem can be repaired or it’s actually time to bring in a new heater.
We’ll take a look at five telltale signs that you’ll need to replace your water heater.
1. Water Heater Not Heating
Most of us take having hot water for granted. We just assume each time we step into the shower, we’ll feel the warmth.
So when you find there’s not enough warm water for even washing your hands, this is a clear sign there’s something wrong with your water heater.
There are typically three reasons for the loss of heat in your water supply. If it’s a misadjusted thermostat or broken heating element, you’re in luck. Those can be replaced.
It could be, however, that your tank is just not large enough.
Are there new members in your household? That means extra loads of laundry and more showers. Or perhaps you’re just using more hot water in your house than you did previously.
If that’s the case, you have two options. You can either highly regulate how much water you use, or you can replace your water heater with a larger unit that can meet the demands of your household.
The latter just seems to make more sense.
2. Your Water Heater Is Leaking
Nobody wants to head into their basement or utility closet to find that their water heater is leaking.
Aside from the fact that it means there’s something wrong with your heater, it could also cause some serious property damage if you don’t address the leak. So if you’re noticing a little bit of water now, then take action before it becomes a lot of water.
The first thing to check is where the water appears around the tank. Take a look at the fitting and connections, as well as the pressure overflow pipe. If those show no traces of leaks, then you’re likely looking at issues with expanding metal.
A water heater is exposed to thousands of cycles in its lifetime. During these cycles, the metal in the tank expands. After too many cycles, the metal runs the risk of forming a fracture.
When the fracture first forms, it’s usually slight and will still hold water in most situations. It’s only when the metal expands at the height of each heating cycle that the water begins to seep through.
This is not a fixable situation and it means it’s time to replace have your tank replaced by professionals.
3. Your Water Heater Is Noisy
When is the last time you had a plumber out to flush your water heater tank?
This should be done on an annual basis to flush out the sediment that builds up over time. If left in the tank, the sediment will harden and grow thick along the bottom of the tank.
That sediment will cause the tank to make noise each time it’s required to heat. Plus, the buildup causes the water heater to consume more energy because of the increased strain involved in heating the water.
Over time, the extra stress on the tank can cause the metal to get brittle and accelerate the chance that the metal will fracture. Then you’re looking at a leak and the inevitable need to replace the tank.
If you’re dealing with just noise and no leak, then get your water heater flushed. If that does the trick, then you’re good to go.
However, if the tank still makes noise once sediment has been flushed, there’s probably a more serious problem.
4. Your Water Looks Rusty Water
Mix steel and water and you get rust.
When it comes to water pipes and tanks that are made of steel, rust is a sign that there’s corrosion. And where there’s corrosion, there’s the potential for leaks.
But if your water looks rusty, it’s difficult to determine whether it’s coming from the heater or from the pipes that service your faucets. Whatever the case, you do not want to ignore rust in your water.
If rust is showing up in the hot water from the faucets in both your sink and bathtub, there’s a good chance the issue is with your water heater.
Take a look around the water inlet or pressure relief valve on the heater. If there’s rust there, then it’s probably also inside the tank.
The only option in this situation is water heater replacement as soon as possible. Once rust is present, there’s no way to save the water heater.
5. Your Water Heater Is Old
How old is your water heater? Do you even know? Having some idea of the age of your water heater is helpful because an aging water heater is going to have more issues than a newer one.
The simplest way to determine the age of your water heater is to look at the serial number. In many cases, you’ll see something like this:
The letter at the beginning corresponds to the month of the year. A = January, B = February, C = March, etc. Then the two numbers immediately after that tell you the last two numbers of the year.
So in the number above, the water heater was installed in July of 2006.
Different manufacturers use different serial numbers though. So you’ll want to check for your manufacturer.
The lifespan of the average water heater is between eight and twelve years. For gas water heaters, the lifespan is even shorter at six to eight years.
Even if your heater makes it ten years, most plumbers recommend that you replace it at that point – regardless of whether you’re having trouble with it.
That way, you can avoid having to deal with any leaks or, even worse, flooding.
Is Your Broken Water Heater Salvageable?
It’s always great when your broken water heater can be fixed.
But depending on how old it is, there’s a good chance it will need to be replaced.
Contact us today to get our professional opinion. We’ll give you an honest evaluation of your situation so you can start enjoying hot water again!
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