Prevent Water Damage to Your Home and Save Money
Hot water is something that we can’t live without. You need it to wash the dishes and your clothes, take a comfortable shower and make sure your dog doesn’t smell like whatever he rolled around in at the park. If hot water is the blood that keeps your home running, then your water heater is the heart that pumps it through your home. But what happens when you’ve got a bum ticker?
You may notice discolored water, or that your hot showers aren’t hot all the way through. Let’s talk about signs that you may need to replace your water heater.
Why Would a Water Heater Need to be Replaced?
While the weather is getting warmer, it may not seem like a disaster to not have hot water. Some days are hot enough to make you want to take a cold shower anyway. But a busted water heater is rarely a passive ordeal.
Water damage caused by failed water heaters costs folks more than $4,000 on average after their deductible is paid. If you’ve got $4,000 to flush down the drain, well, you’re luckier than most. Meanwhile, for the rest of us who might not be able to afford that, here are signs your gas or electric water heater is on its way out.
Signs of Water Heater Failure
A Not So Happy Birthday
Do you know how old your water heater is? Most water heaters are built to last around 8-12 years. Good for a while, but not forever. Do you know how to check how old it is? The answer is right in front of you, and no, I don’t mean Google.
The serial number on your unit should be able to tell you how old it is. While some serial number codes differ among different companies, usually the first two digits of the serial number are the last two digits of the year it was made. So if it starts E12…, it was made in the year 2012.
With proper maintenance, you can extend the life of your water heater. However, if it’s getting in that age range, it’s time to start thinking about when you’re going to replace it.
Pro tip: replacing your water heater before winter is always your best bet. Plumbing companies aren’t dealing with as many hot water issues, and you won’t be in the middle of an emergency.
How Does Your Anode Rod Look?
The anode rod is another easy way to determine how your tank is fairing. If you don’t know, an anode rod is a metal rod that sits inside your water tank. It has different types of metal coiled around it that prevents the inside of the tank from rusting. It is sometimes called a “sacrificial rod” because it causes rust to form on the rod rather than the sides through electrolysis.
This one is an obvious red flag. If your hot water comes out of the tap the color of rust, that’s almost assuredly because there is rust in it. This isn’t a sure sign of a failed water heater, but it’s never a good sign. Moreover, other problems it could indicate are that you have corroded galvanized iron plumbing (and replacing the water heater won’t help). Subsequently, it could also be an indication that there is a problem with your local water supply.
An easy way to determine if this is caused by the water heater is to run your cold water. If your cold water is still rust-colored, this is not an issue with your water heater.
Sprung A Leak
A leak can mean a multitude of things. It may mean that the inside of the tank has become corroded, and the corrosion has caused a leak. This is a definite sign that your water heater needs to be replaced. Almost 70% of failures are caused by a slow leak or sudden burst.
On the other hand, if the leak is around the seal, near the drain spigot, or the cold-water intake, this is a repair that your local NJ plumber can easily repair for you.
If It’s Too Loud, It’s Too Old
Do you notice a rumbling sound coming from your basement? If it’s not your daughter practicing on her new drum kit, it might be your water heater.
As your water heater tank ages, it forms sediment in the bottom. Over time, this sediment hardens, and the cycle of heating and cooling causes the sediment to move and bang around on the inside of your tank. Not only is this causing your tank damage that will eventually result in a leak, but it is also causing your tank to be less energy efficient. This may be costing you more money on your energy bills.
Know When to Hold ‘Em and When to Fold ‘Em
No one wants to give up on their water heater before it’s time, and you shouldn’t. A water heater isn’t cheap, and you should get the most out of the money you spend on it. However, all good things must come to an end, so make sure you’re not in denial when your tank’s time is up.
Keep these points in mind and think about whether or not it’s time for a water heater replacement. If you’ve got years left, don’t neglect regular maintenance from a local professional to make sure you’re getting the most out of your hot water system.
When it’s time to replace or repair your water heater, you know who to call.