It’s easy to lose track of your water heater’s age — especially when it’s performing its job with no trouble whatsoever. However, homeowners need to know that their water heaters won’t last forever. As they grow older, these vital fixtures can encounter bumps in the road that make it difficult for your family to enjoy the hot water you’ve come to know and love.

Are you worried that your water heater is nearing the end of its service life? The good news is that there are many warning signs that tell you when to replace a water heater — all you need to do is look out for them.

Let’s discuss the top five signs your water heater needs to be replaced sooner than later.

Old Age

Like every appliance and fixture in your home, your water heater has a predetermined lifespan. In most cases, you can expect a traditional hot water heater to last between 8 to 12 years. Of course, various factors can influence how long your unit actually ends up lasting, including the rate of use, overall efficiency, and whether or not you schedule regular maintenance.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but old age is one of the more notable signs your water heater needs to be replaced. As your water heater gets older, it can lose its energy efficiency, resulting in higher energy bills, insufficient heating, and, worst of all — a sudden, devastating breakdown.

How to Learn a Water Heater’s Age

As we mentioned above, losing track of your water heater’s age is all too easy. Fortunately, there are a few ways to determine your unit’s date of manufacture. In most instances, water heater tanks will have a label detailing the installation date.

However, if you’re struggling to find this label, you can also check the serial number. Serial numbers can be difficult to decipher, so it’s usually best to visit the manufacturer’s website for a decoder or contact your local water heater expert for assistance.

Hot Water Problems

When discussing the warning signs that tell you when to replace a water heater, it’s impossible not to mention hot water problems. These issues can include everything from inconsistent water temperatures to a complete lack of hot water.

Sometimes, you may only need to replace a damaged or broken heating element if you encounter water temperature fluctuations. However, an improperly-sized water heater could also contribute to the uncomfortably cold showers you’ve been taking.

If you have a large household or your family has grown, there’s a chance that your water heater can no longer keep up with your hot water needs. You’ll want to upgrade to a larger water heater with a higher capacity.

Serious Leaks

Have you noticed water pooling around the base of your hot water tank? This is one of the top signs your water heater needs to be replaced.

Some water heater leaks can be easily fixed. For example, there’s a possibility that the pressure relief valve (or T&P valve) is faulty and simply needs to be replaced. The pressure relief valve is a safety feature responsible for releasing a small amount of water when the pressure inside the tank reaches a dangerously high level. If you’re dealing with a faulty valve, you might notice water dripping from it.

At the same time, there are many leaks that will require the help of an expert. For instance, if you’ve neglected your water heater’s maintenance needs, there’s a good chance that sediment has built up at the bottom of the tank. This sediment buildup can cause cracks to form in the tank, which will lead to leaking water.

If you’re dealing with a leak in the tank, the best solution is to schedule a Seattle water heater replacement. In fact, you’ll want to schedule a replacement as soon as possible to prevent any further water damage from occurring inside your home. When calling a professional for assistance, remember to shut off the water to your water heater tank as well.

Water Discoloration

Did you turn on the kitchen faucet or step into the shower recently, only to notice that the water is discolored? These can be warning signs that tell you when to replace a water heater, and you certainly shouldn’t overlook them.

In some cases, discolored or rusty water can be caused by a damaged anode rod. Anode rods are important components in traditional water heaters because they help keep the tank from corroding. However, these components can also start to corrode over time, requiring replacement.

Although you can replace the anode rods in water heaters, it’s also important to consider your water heater’s age and overall performance. If your water heater is getting old, fails to meet your hot water needs, and seems to need frequent repairs, replacing the entire unit might be the better solution.

Unusual Noises

There can be many visual signs your water heater needs to be replaced — but what you hear could be just as important. Your water heater shouldn’t be making any strange sounds; if it is, you could be dealing with many problems, such as a damaged heating element and sediment buildup in the tank.

Sediment buildup is always a cause for concern. When these mineral deposits collect in the tank, it is difficult for your water heater to perform its job like normal. As a result, the unit ends up wasting excessive amounts of energy to meet your water needs. This extra work can lead to extensive wear and tear and sudden failure.

Schedule an Appointment With Our Water Heater Experts!

As you can see, there are many warning signs that tell you when to replace a water heater. However, some red flags are more obvious than others, so it’s important to be thorough when checking for potential failure.

Don’t hesitate to call Fast Water Heater for assistance if you’re experiencing strange noises or your unit is having trouble heating water. We’re proud to offer same-day hot water heater installations and replacements in Seattle, WA, and the surrounding areas. Our team also serves homeowners in parts of Oregon as well as Northern and Southern California.

You deserve to enjoy a consistent hot water supply, no matter your needs. After all, it’s no fun taking a shower with cold water. If it’s time to replace your water heater, contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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