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Time’s Up: Know When to Replace the Water Heater in Your Home

Did you know that every time you wash your face, you use about one gallon of water? Or that your old shower lets out about five gallons of water for every minute you run it?

All in all, your daily consumption is around 80 to 100 gallons of water. For the average U.S. household though, that goes up to about 300 gallons a day.
That’s already a lot of water, but if you have a faulty water heater, you could be wasting even more.

So, does this mean a leak is a sure sign telling you when to replace a water heater? What are other symptoms of a malfunctioning water heater that’s up for replacement?

All these burning questions you have, we’ll answer in this post, so be sure to keep reading!

Leaks in Water Heater: A Sure Sign of Replacement?

Not always, as the leaks may actually be coming from small damages in the water supply line. In this case, the drip from the supply line can work its way down from the top of the water heater. As such, it may look like the leak is from within the heater’s tank.

Another possible source of the leak is the water heater nipple, also located at the very top of the heating unit. Their thin threads may be so worn out that they’re already letting water escape.

That said, make sure you confirm the dripping water is coming from the supply line or nipples first. Luckily, water line leak repairs are easy fixes for professional plumbers.

In case the tank itself is leaking though, that’s a sure sign you already need a water heater replacement. That’s because most leaking water heater tanks let out a lot of water, and not small drips. You want your heater replaced ASAP, as this can lead to major indoor flooding.

When to Replace a Water Heater: If It Has Seen 10 Years of Use

Even without leaks, you can tell when to replace a water heater by its age. Water heaters that run on either electricity or gas have an average lifespan of 10 years. You can only expect your heater to last for this long if you’ve been giving it proper maintenance.

If you have a tankless water heater, you can get up to 20 years of use out of it. Again, this long-life expectancy is still associated with proper use and maintenance.

Also, even if your heater is still working fine in its 10th year, you should still consider a replacement. A brand new, energy-efficient water heater can save you up to $3,400 over the unit’s lifetime. That should be a great enough incentive for you to replace your old and worn-out water heater.

Rust in Water

Rust in water can either be due to corroded plumbing pipes or rusted water heaters. To tell which one is the culprit, try running only cold water from some of your faucets. If the cold water is still rusty, it’s likely an issue with your plumbing pipes that need repiping.

One thing that can tell you when to replace a hot water heater is if the rusty water only appears when you draw hot water. In this case, the inside of your water heating unit may have already corroded.

Unexplained Increases in Your Electricity Bills

In 2017, St. Johns River Water Management District’s public water use was 581.51 million gallons per day. This district supplies public water to 18 counties, including Palm Bay and Orlando, FL.

Granted, public water supply is safe for consumption, as it goes through treatment. It can still, however, have excess minerals like calcium and magnesium, which make it “hard”. Over time, these minerals can cause sediment build-up in your hot water heater.

The longer these deposits stay in your heater, the harder they will become. The hardened minerals can then make your heater less efficient. It will also take longer for the unit to actually heat the water, causing a spike in your electricity bills.

If there’s only a thin sediment build-up in your water heater, you can dissolve this with a special cleaner. For older heaters though, the deposits may have become too thick. In this case, you should consider getting it replaced.

Rattling, Rumbling, and Banging Sounds

Sediment build-up can also make your water heater produce these loud noises. This can happen when water gets trapped under the mineral deposits. When you run your heater, the “trapped” water gets heated over and over again.

This then creates steam bubbles that are also trapped under the layers of sediment. With no way out, the bubbles knock against the sediments, which is what causes the loud noises.

The longer this happens; the more stress the heated and trapped water puts on your tank. The longer time the heater has to heat up the water causes greater tear on the tank too. All these can then contribute to the tank developing cracks and holes.

If you’ve been hearing these noises for quite some time now, consider calling the pros. Depending on the extent of the build-up and interior damage, they may still be able to repair your heater. But if your unit is nearing its 10th year, you may be better off with a brand-new heater.

Get Your Old Water Heater Replaced Before Disaster Strikes

Now that you know when to replace a water heater, get yours replaced before it causes a bigger flood. Note that in Palm Bay, FL, the average brand-new water heater cost is only about $950. Now, compare that with the average cost of $3,600 to repair water damage in Florida.

As you can see, delays in getting a replacement water heater can only lead to bigger expenses. Besides, today’s heaters are energy-efficient, so you’ll recoup your expenses soon.

Ready to get your faulty or outdated water heater replaced or repaired? If so, then please don’t hesitate to connect with us to set up a service appointment!

Kyle Davis

Licensed Plumber

Kyle Davis has over 20 years of plumbing experience in Central Florida. First Quality plumbers are licensed, insured and ready to provide quality plumbing services 24/7 in Palm Bay, Orlando and Orange City.