Do You Need a New Water Heater?
Not sure if you need a new water heater yet? Smart homeowners don’t wait until the day their water heater dies because they know a rushed decision isn’t usually the best decision. Research water heaters and prepare to replace your water heater when you start to see the following red flags.
Q: How old is your water heater? (You can find the age of your water heater on a small metal plate on the tank.)
A. If your water heater is over ten years old, it’s time to start doing your research about new water heaters. Most tank water heaters last ten to fifteen years, and those that last fifteen years usually are working at very low efficiency, meaning it is costing you a lot more to heat that water than is necessary. You don’t want to get caught in a bind, making a quick decision about a water heater because it suddenly quit working on you. Educate yourself so you are ready to get a new water heater when the time comes.
Q: Are you getting enough hot water for everyone in your family to comfortably shower or bathe when desired?
A. If not, you probably need either a new water heater (if inefficiency is the problem), a bigger tank (if the demand for hot water has increased), or a tankless water heater, which can provide limitless hot water.
Q: Do you have to wait a long time for hot water?
A. This may be a problem of either heater efficiency or the fact that your hot water heater is located far from where you need hot water, meaning you have to waste a bunch of cold water as you run the tap, waiting for the hot water to get to you. A tankless water heater or on demand water heater with recirculation capabilities could be your solution.
Q: Are you seeing rust or sediment in your water when you run the hot water?
A. Test this by filling the bathtub, where you can see sediment more clearly. If your water is discolored, try flushing your water heater (which you should be doing annually) and then see if the discoloration continues. If it does, have a plumber evaluate your water heater and pipes to determine what the problem is.
Q. Have you performed annual maintenance on your hot water heater?
A. Tank water heaters need to be drained annually, and the anode rode (inside) needs to be changed every three years. If you don’t drain and flush your water heater, sediment and rust builds up in the bottom of the tank. This affects how well your heater works, making it cost more money to heat the same amount of water. If you don’t change the anode rod, your heater’s efficiency also will drop. A properly maintained water heater will last longer and perform better than one that has been neglected.
Q. My water heater is in my attic. Is that a problem?
A. Yes! It’s highly inadvisable to have a tank water heater in your attic. As tank water heaters age, they become prone to leaking, and a leaking water heater in the attic may go unnoticed until severe water damage has occurred. If you see a water stain in your ceiling, check that water heater in the attic immediately. Many of our clients move their water heater out of the attic or switch to tankless, which is much safer for attic spaces.
Q. I’ve seen water pooling near the base of my tank water heater. Is that a problem?
A. Yes, a very big problem! If your water heater is leaking, you could soon have some serious water damage problems very quickly. A leaking water heater needs to be examined by a plumber the same day it’s discovered. Shut off the water heater, shut off the water to the heater, and then call a plumber to evaluate the damage immediately.
Q. What does it mean if my water heater is making rumbling noises?
A. That means sediment has built up inside the tank, which translates into lower efficiency. Have a plumber out to evaluate the damage. You may simply need the tank flushed and drained and the anode rod replaced (which prevents rusting of the tank), or it may be time for a new water heater. We always try to save the old water heater if its in good shape; we’ll help you determine if your water heater can give you a few more good years of service or if it’s time to replace it.
Need a New Water Heater?
If you’ve determined you need a new water heater or would like to have your older water heater evaluated, give us a call at 704.846.5371. We’ve got 30 years of experience in water heater repair and installation. We will help you determine what type and size of water heater will be best for your home, taking into consideration your budget, family size, and length of intended stay in the home.
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