Many homeowners don’t realize their hot water heater is ready to go, until it does. Knowing the warning signs that service or a replacement is needed will prevent an emergency situation in your home.
Age. The average life expectancy of a hot water heater, for a family of four, is seven to 10 years. The more you use it, the more wear and tear on the system, which shortens the life span. If you’re not sure of the age, check the serial number, which should include the year the unit was manufactured.
Water Consistency. If you’re experiencing inconsistent hot water or if you’re unable to maintain a constant temperature, your hot water heater is likely nearing the end of its life. An ideal temperature for hot water is between 120 and 140 degrees.
Leaks. Examine the area around your hot water heater for moisture. It’s not uncommon for aging units to experience slow leaks that worsen over time. Large amounts of water are a sure sign your unit has expired.
Noise. As water heaters age, sediment builds up on the inside and eventually hardens. As the water heats up, you will hear rumbling or banging, which can cause cracks. When you start to hear noise, keep an eye out for small leaks.
Color. If the color of your hot water changes and remains so for a period of time, this could mean your system is rusting from the inside. You can check this by carefully draining water directly from your unit. If you see rusty water there, you’ll have your answer.