3 Signs It’s Time To Replace That Water Heater

water heaterNo matter how well you care for your water heater, it will eventually start to wear out, lose efficiency, and become more susceptible to leaks and other issues. Knowing when you need a water heater replacement will give you some time to shop around before your current system fails.

Leaks around the tank – As the metal tank expands and contracts with temperature changes, it slowly weakens and can eventually develop hairline fractures or worse that let water seep out. Once the tank is cracked, the system can’t be repaired, so a water heater replacement is your only option. If your tank is leaking, you’ll notice water pooling on the floor around it. First make sure the water isn’t coming from a leaking fitting, leaking T&P valve or simply condensation.

Rusty hot water – Rusty water coming from your hot water taps is a good indication that the inside of your tank has rusted and is likely to leak. A tank water heater is equipped with a device known as a sacrificial anode, which slows down corrosion. These anodes wear out and should be replaced. If the anode isn’t replaced in time, the tank can rust. Rusty galvanized pipes and sediment in the tank can also cause rusty water. To test where the rust is coming from, drain 10 to 15 gallons of hot water out of your system. If you still get rusty water after this, the cause is most likely your tank.

Advanced age – A well maintained water heater can perform reliably for up to 15 years, but even before it fails, it gradually drops in performance and efficiency. Not all water heaters give warning signs before they fail, either. Keep your old system working too long and one day you could suddenly end up with no hot water, or worse, a major leak. If your water heater is more than 10 years old, start planning to replace it.

If you’re in the market for a water heater replacement, a plumber can help you choose the model that best meets your needs.