Water heaters at your home or business provide hot and warm water through your taps for bathing, cleaning, washing, cooking, or space heating. However, they do not last forever. Based on their quality and durability some of them may stop functioning at their best way sooner than others.
Regular maintenance does help to extend the life of your water heater. However, sometimes it is beyond repair and there is nothing much you can do but to have it replaced. Knowing the signs of a failing heater can help you to know when to call in the experts at Dowd Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning for a new installation.
Here are 6 signs you need to repair or replace your water heater
1. It’s old
Water heaters are designed to last for about 8 to10 years even though they could need replacing before this time expires. For example, gas water heaters have a life span of 6 to 8 years. Even if it doesn’t start acting up, water heaters should be replaced after 10 years from the date of manufacture. The manufacturer’s sticker located on the tank typically has a serial number to indicate the date the heater was made. If you’ve occupied the home or premises for more than 10 years and never had a replacement, and the heater is giving problems, this may mean it’s on its way out.
2. Rusty or discolored water
Nothing but clear water should run through your taps. Water heater tanks are made of metal and metal is prone to corrosion or rusting. Rust is identified by a red or orange coating inside the walls of the tank. Eventually, rust from the interior of the tank gets into the water that comes through the taps. Not only is the water discolored but also polluted with iron oxide. This makes it unsafe for human consumption. Rust also weakens the metal and may eventually cause leaking. Chances are the pressure relief valve or the water inlet is also rusted. Rusting cannot be reversed to salvage the heater which means it may be time to call in the HVAC specialists to replace it.
Leaking, of course, is another sign your heater is nearing the end of its life. Leaks occur when rust eats away the metal resulting in tiny holes in the tank. It can also happen due to expansion of the tank when heated and contraction when cool. The cycles of expansion and contraction may cause small fractures in the metal where leaks will later form. Water on the ground around the heater is usually a telltale sign of leakage. Leaks that go undetected can cause extensive property damage and cost you a lot of money in repairs. Similarly, the tank could burst and cause flooding and damage. The extent of the damage depends on the location of the heater.
Cracking, popping, whining, rumbling, or knocking sounds coming from the heater is an indicator that the tank is going out. An aged water heater is more likely to exhibit this sign. The noise comes from metal that became brittle over time and may be more noticeable when the water tank is heating up. Sediments, e.g., from sand in the water gradually builds up and hardens on the floor of the tank. You should always inspect the tank for leaks if you hear any noise coming from it. Water heaters that are not properly maintained are more likely to get noisy faster.
5. Water temperature drops
If the water is no longer as hot as it used to be and you haven’t adjusted the thermostat, your heater may be dying a slow but sure death. You won’t be able to take a shower or wash with adequately warmed water. This may cause some amount of discomfort. Also, if your tank is too small or there are too many people in the household for the size of the tank, the hot water will likely be depleted faster than normal. Replacing the heater may be a good option to get water at the required temperature or satisfy the usage demands of the household.
6. Repairs are costly
A water heater nearing the end of its life or one that is not functioning properly will require more maintenance and repairs than normal. However, having to continuously repair the heater can add up to big bills. If you had to fix the heater several times over the past two years this may be a good sign that a smarter choice is to replace it. You may also save on energy bills in the long run.
Calling in the experts
A broken water heater can be stressful especially during the cold weather seasons. Don’t wait until it’s broken before swapping it out for a new system. Dowd Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning can quickly remove and install your new heater.