It’s a nice day outside and you are thinking that spring is right around the corner. As you pull into your garage, you notice that the water heater is making noises and leaking. You do the math and realize that the water heater is 10 years old. Knowing that the average life expectancy is 8-12 years for a traditional water heater and a tankless water heater can last about 20 years or more. Should I replace my water heater before it fails? The answer is yes. This gives you time to research what you want to get for the home and buying a new one before yours fails allows you to also save money on utility bills. Let’s take a look.
Signs You Need a New Water Heater
There are some signs to look out for. This will help when thinking about whether it is time to make a repair or if you need to replace the water heater before it fails.
- The sacrificial anode rod is rusting – if this is rusting, it is time to replace it with a new one. Leaving it in there can cause rust and corrosion. It is a good idea to replace this every two years.
- No hot water in the tank – if you don’t have hot water in the tank, this may signal that the tank is broken and needs replacing. If you aren’t sure, calling a professional is a good idea.
- Water pooling around the tank – this means that there is a leak. Often, this cannot be repaired. If this is happening, turn off the power and water supply to the hot water heater.
- The tap has red or brown water coming out – this discolored water is either from the pipes that carry the water and they are rusting or it is from sediment buildup in the water heater. Either way, contacting a professional is a good idea.
- Sounds from the water heater – if you hear odd sounds from the water heater, this indicates something is wrong with it, such as sediment that has built up and is being thrown around the tank. Replacing the water heater may quickly be in your future.
Why Replace The Water Heater Before It Stops Working
- If you have always had an electric water heater, chances are you will replace your old one with the same style. However, if you give yourself some time right now, you can research other options such as natural gas, solar power, and even tankless.
- Not enough hot water – Is your family getting enough hot water in the home? If you are finding that it is not lasting long enough, it may be time to upgrade to a larger tank. Thus, you need the time to research the best one for you and your family. If you wait until the water heater breaks, you won’t have the opportunity to do your research and can cost yourself more money in the end instead of saving money.
- Waiting for days for a new one – if your water heater fails and you need to replace it, you may be waiting for days to get it. If you replace it before this time, you will be able to schedule delivery and installation for when it is convenient for you.
Parts That Can Be Repaired
If you don’t want to replace the unit, there are some specific water heater parts you can repair. However, you will likely need a professional to assist so it may end up costing you more money.
Here are some of the parts that can be repaired: heating elements, thermostats, valves, igniters, burner assembly, thermocouples, and motors.
Here is a great video about when to replace the water heater.
How Much Does It Cost
A new tank can range from $270 for just 1-2 people in the home to over $3,000 for 5 or more people in the home. Additionally, a tankless water heater is much less! These range from $250 to $900. You will want to research the size that works best for your home and your family size.
Recommended Maintenance on Water Heater
The maintenance of a water heater is important. It depends on the type of water heater you have, but the following is what you need to do to maintain the water heater:
- Flush the hot water heater every 6 months
- Adjust the temperature and reset
- If you have a gas water heater, turn it off and back on
- Set the thermostat at 120 degrees
- Put the water heater on “vacation mode” if you are traveling or only live in your home part of the year
Another area to look at is maintaining the temperature pressure relief valve or TPR. This is a valve that will release water if the pressure or temperature exceeds safe levels. It is important to have as it will keep the water heater from blowing up!
Lastly, your hot water heater may have copper piping so you want to make sure it is not leaking. How long does this piping usually last? Well, copper pipes can have a small leak but typically last 20-50 years or more. However, as we know, a water heater’s lifespan is a lot less than that.
If the water heater bursts, this could cause all the water in the tank (could be 50 gallons!) to flood the garage, laundry room, or basement of your home. What a mess! Additionally, this will lead to mold and mildew growth and cause health problems for your family.
When to Call a Professional
Call a professional if you are unsure what is happening with your hot water heater. Also, if you still wonder if repairing or replacing is the best idea. They will be able to give you a good recommendation. However, do your research for the best type to get in case you are told that replacement should happen shortly.
A water heater is important in our homes so we don’t have to take cold showers or baths! The hot water also helps us clean our dishes and our laundry safely and effectively. Knowing the signs of issues with a water heater is important so you are able to make that important decision. Call on Colorado Inspection Team to take a look at your hot water heater during a home inspection in Castlerock, CO, and the Front Range areas.