It’s easy to overlook the need to replace your hot water heater, especially if it’s still running fine. However, it can be beneficial to replace your old water heater when certain signs occur, such as when it has reached the end of its lifespan or if you notice leaks coming from anywhere on the tank or pipes. If you live in an area where the winter temperatures drop below freezing, then your hot water heater probably has to work extra hard to keep up with your family’s needs. This extra strain can shorten the lifespan of your hot water heater, and you may need to replace it sooner than you think.
How to Check if Your Hot Water Heater Needs Replacing
Your hot water heater may need replacing if you find that it’s having issues that can’t be easily fixed. If it isn’t able to heat your water properly, or if you notice rust coming from it, then you should consider buying a new one. You should also replace your hot water heater if it is more than 10 years old. At this age it might appear to work just fine but there are probably some underlying issues that are not visible to the naked eye yet. These can be the worst type of issues because the manifest suddenly and can cause major damage to your home. It’s a good idea to have a professional plumber inspect your hot water heater on a yearly basis after you have had it for 8 years or longer. If your goal is to save money and you would prefer to do the inspection yourself, there are some things that you can look for, that if caught early enough can save you time and money in the future.
First, listen for any strange noises coming from your hot water heater. If you hear strange sounds it could mean nothing or it could be the first indication of a problem. In this case you definitely want to have a professional check it out because you have no way of knowing what the sound means.
Next, Use your eyes to look for irregularities. If you notice excessive moisture or wet areas on or around your hot water heater that’s a sign of leaking or water escaping from what’s supposed to be a closed water tight system.
Finally, look all around the tank. Check the top and bottom of the tank for any rust spots. If you find any it’s a cause for concern. Rust indicates either water somehow escaping the tank or there is some external source of water exposure on the outside of the tank causing damage to the appliance. This could be something as simple as a pipe dripping water down onto the hot water heater. You must take this seriously because this is the type of issue that can cause your tank to suddenly rupture in which case you will have more than a hot water heater issue. You’ll also have to shell out some money for water damage restoration. when all of that water suddenly rushes out of the tank onto the floor of your house.
While a do-it-yourself inspection on your hot water heater is better than nothing it’s best to have a professional do it if at all possible. A plumber will have a trained eye and ear and may be able to catch things that you would otherwise overlook. Also, there are many issues that he can take care of right on the spot. Some issues require a simple fix that you as the homeowner won’t have the tools or skills to do but a professional plumber will.
To make a long story short, it’s better to spend a little money up front than to have to pay what its going to cost to have a repair or replacement done after a major incident. Do yourself a favor, stay on top of the condition of your hot water heater. You will thank yourself later.
How Much Does it Cost?
The cost of a new water heater varies according to your location and energy source. According to HomeAdvisor, natural gas ranges from $300 to $5,000. An electric water heater can range from $500 to $2,200. A solar water heater will run about $4,000-$6,500 for installation and can last for up 20 years—which is much longer than most other types of heaters. However, you’ll pay a little more in maintenance costs over time. Most importantly, remember that not all hot water heaters are created equal; you may want to do some research on which type of hot water heater would be best for your home and lifestyle before committing to one type or another. There are many factors that go into choosing a water heater, including how many people live in your home. How often you use your hot water also affects how long it lasts: People who use their hot water at least once per day have reported an average lifespan of 10-15 years. However, this time can be shortened significantly if you have a large family. If you’re considering replacing your hot water heater, consider buying a tankless model instead. Tankless units heat water as needed rather than storing heated water in tanks, so they save money on both heating and plumbing bills. However, they require more upfront investment (usually around $1,000 to $3000 more than a traditional unit). They also tend to cost more to install. Because of these high initial costs, tankless models aren’t ideal for everyone, but they make sense for homes with high usage rates or lots of showers taken each day. They also save homeowners money in energy efficiency because you only heat water when it’s actually being used—so there’s no need to keep gallons upon gallons of heated water on hand just in case someone wants a shower later that night. No matter which type of hot water heater you are considering, do your homework first. Research the brands, the companies that install them, the time it takes for the complete replacement and what type of warranty is included. This is not a decision that you want to take lightly. You’ll have to live with your decision for many years to come.
Hot Water Tank Maintenance Tips
Now that you have a new hot water heater you want to take the necessary steps to ensure that its going to last a long time. You’ll need to perform routine maintenance in order to keep it running efficiently:
- insulate it your hot water heater. This makes the hot water heater more efficient by holding the temperature for longer and it provides a level of protection from external elements.
- Completely drain it a few times a year to get rid of any sediment
- Test your Pressure relief valve at least once a year.
As long as you follow these steps and use a little common sense if you notice things not mentioned in this article you should be on your way to having a properly functioning hot water heater for many years to come.