Appliances like water heaters are designed to last many years, so homeowners don’t always know when it’s time to replace them. Upgrades are usually expensive, but a water heater that isn’t performing as it should is much more costly in the long run. If your unit is already a few years old, there are some telltale signs that it needs repair or replacement to ensure you can enjoy a hot shower for many years.
Want to know when to replace a water heater? In this post, we’ve collected the most common signs to look out for. Read on to find out how to fix your water heater issues and whether it’s time to invest in a new system.
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How Long Does a Water Heater Last?
Generally speaking, a water heater lasts ten years, but many factors affect its lifespan. For example, intensive use by large families and lack of regular maintenance will affect its performance. It also depends on which model you use: gas water heaters have shorter lifespans than tankless models, which can operate for around 20 years with regular maintenance.
Is it Better to Fix or Replace a Water Heater?
If your water heater is nearing the end of its life, expensive repairs are often a waste of money. Even if the unit has been working without a problem, you only postpone the inevitable by repairing it. If you’re unsure, apply the 50% rule: if the repair costs half as much as the replacement, then replacement is the better choice.
If you have a newer appliance, this decision will be easier to make: repair rather than replace unless there are significant issues. Either way, it’s best to consult a professional who can advise you on when to replace a water heater.
Signs That You Need to Replace Your Water Heater
If your water heater unit performs as it should, there is no reason to replace it. However, if you regularly run into problems, it’s worth knowing when to replace a water heater. Here are some common signs to look out for:
» Your Utility Bills Have Increased
If you have an older water heater, chances are it is not designed with energy efficiency in mind, which is why your energy bills are soaring.
However, if you notice a sudden increase in energy use, it may indicate that the appliance is working harder and longer to produce hot water. This can happen with newer models, too, even Energy Star-rated ones. Flushing and draining the system can help if the problem is due to a clogged tank or pipes. Otherwise, it’s best to call a professional to check why the system isn’t operating properly and troubleshoot any water heater issues contributing to higher utility bills.
» Your Hot Water is Running Out Too Fast
Running out of hot water before you’ve done all your chores, such as bathing the kids or doing the laundry, often means the tank can’t keep up with the demand. In this case, replacing your water heater with a tankless model can be a solution. However, this is an expensive upgrade, so it is worth checking for other problems before investing—especially if the water heater is new or well-maintained.
It may just be a buildup of sediment that can be fixed by flushing and draining the system, or it may be another, more complex problem that only a professional can resolve.
» The Water Heater is Making Strange Noises
Sudden strange noises coming from the water heater may mean that the appliance is too old and unable to perform. The buildup of sediment at the bottom of the tank can harden over time, resulting in rattling noises coming from inside the water heater; it is a telltale sign that your unit has reached its expected lifespan. Unfortunately, repairs are not always a solution in this scenario, and you likely need a new hot water heater installation.
» Water Takes Too Long to Warm Up
If your water takes longer to warm up, your tank may be in the wrong location. The closer your water heater where you need it, the less distance hot water travels in your pipes to reach your faucets. While moving the unit is not always possible, you may solve this problem by installing a recirculation pump, which is a cost-effective way to provide instant hot water where you need it the most. Talk to your water heater replacement services, who can advise you on the best solution, whether moving the unit, a replacement, or a recirculation pump.
» Rusty Water is Running from the Tap
As soon as you notice rusty water running from your tap, you’ll know it’s time to replace your water heater. Rust means corrosion, which occurs with older appliances nearing the end of their life. For newer water heaters, try to install a corrosion-resistant zinc anode rod before replacing the entire unit.
» You Notice Leaks Around the Water Heater
Puddles and water leaks around the water heating unit can signal problems that must be addressed quickly. Leaks in the tank may start as small cracks at first, but as the tank expands and contracts due to heat, these cracks can grow and cause the tank to explode, putting you and your family in danger. Call in the professionals as soon as you notice any leakage. They can analyze the severity of the problem and advise on replacing or repairing the system.
Water Heater Replacement Services by Conejo Valley Heating & Air Conditioning
Water heaters are expensive appliances designed to last for many years. However, higher utility costs, rusty water, and rumbling noises (or simply the age of the unit) are valid reasons to replace your water heater rather than have it repaired. Since homeowners often cannot determine when to replace a water heater, it is worth consulting a professional to check for any issues and advise you on repairs that can extend the life of the unit.
The experts at Conejo Valley Heating & Air Conditioning are happy to check your system and propose professional repair, maintenance, and replacement services for all major brands and types of water heaters (including electric, power vent, tank, and tankless water heaters) in Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills, Newbury Park, and the surrounding areas.