Just like every other household appliances, we only appreciate the excellent function of a water heater once it stops working. Sadly, some of you do not realize that even though hot water heaters are generally reliable and can serve you for years, they have a certain lifespan and most of the time, such is shortened due to some factors. That is why when purchasing and installing a new unit, it is best to learn how long they last and what are the usual signs that it is already reaching its endpoint.
Having knowledge about those things are valuable since it can save you a lot of trouble and inconvenience. With that in mind, this article will provide you the necessary information so that you can be a responsible water heater owner.
How Long Does a Water Heater Last?
A high-quality hot water tank has the potential to last from eight to 12 years old. Just like all other plumbing equipment, it will begin to show a decline with time and consistent use. Usually, when it is approaching the end of its lifespan, electrolysis will occur. This implies that the corrosive particles in the unit will be attracted to the anode rod. This, leads to the rod being unable to carry out its heating function, because the inside of the tank starts rusting and becomes corroded.
On the other hand, gas-powered units have an average lifespan of around six to eight years. You must take note though that their provided age number are for units that have been maintained well, installed properly, and used according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Some brands and models will also have shorter lifespans.
What are the Signs that Your Water Heater is Nearing Its End?
Knowing the warning signs when your unit is about to give out, will help you determine whether your unit needs to be serviced or replaced. The good thing about them is that you can easily detect problems, and below are some common indicators:
- Rusty Water
Signs your water heater is rusting: This is a prevalent scenario for older systems. Once they get to a particular stage, the interior of the unit begins to rust, which then results in the production of rusty water. However, rusty water might also be caused by problematic water pipes. Thus, you should perform a little test to ensure that the rust is coming from the tank and not your pipes.
The initial thing that you should do is to adjust the gas burner knob and put it on vacation option. Then, switch off your cold water valve and attach a hose to your drain valve. You can find the drain valve at the base of the water tank. Once done, put the other side of the hose down; either on the floor or in a basin. Switch on your drain valve and let the hot water freely drain from the water tank.
The next thing that you need to do is turn on any faucet close to your water tank the moment water begins to drain. This is to stop vacuum from forming. Then, switch on the cold water valve once you notice most of the hot water has been drained. Repeat the process.
Don’t turn off your drain valve until the water runs clear; afterward return the water heater back to its original settings. These steps will help flush the rusty sediments out of your unit while also showing you if the rusty water you have been seeing is from the water heater or your pipes. This is also a temporary fix that can serve you for weeks, though it is highly recommended that you replace your water heater as soon as possible.
- Unit Starts Making Noise
The rusty sediments formed in the water heater and other dirt will gather at the bottom of the tank over time. These items will eventually harden and become a layer at the base of your appliance, which will cause you to hear some banging noises regularly.
The layer formed at the base will make it almost impossible for your water tank to function efficiently and subsequently damage the water tank. That certain damage to your water tank will result in leaking. With that in mind, if your water heater functions noisily, then you should consider replacing it before it even leaks.
Leakages around the water heater can be due to several reasons, and trying to fix them on your own is not recommended. So, if this happens, you should call a trained plumbing heating air conditioning technician to look at the units serial number to determine if parts are available and it is repairable. However, this may be a sign your water heater needs to be replaced.
- Water Temperature Variation
If you start to notice that the water produced by the heater is not as hot as it used to be or maybe the temperature does not match the one you have set or worse, it is cold; then, it is a sign that something is wrong. This is caused by various factors, such as the main heating element is malfunctioning or the electric thermostat is developing a fault.
We take water heaters for granted because they have a long life span. Knowing the age of your unit is important, so you can know approximately when it’s time for a replacement. No one wants to be in the middle of a shower and have the unit go bad. So, being aware of the signs and watching for them will help you identify if it’s time to replace your unit.
Since the lifespan of any type of water heater is mostly dependent on the user, you should also use and maintain it as per the advice of the manufacturer. Hiring a technician once in a while to check on it and do some maintenance would be a helpful improvement. It might cost you, but it will ensure that your unit will last a long time. Nonetheless, once you need to change the appliance, the good news is you may be able to save some money on your home utility bill with today’s newer more energy-efficient models.
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