Experts say that a water heater will last anywhere from 6 to 12 years, on average. That’s a pretty wide margin, so it can sometimes be hard to tell whether an unreliable device needs repair or replacement. Here are five signs that it’s probably time to start looking into options for a new hot water tank.
1. Your Hot Water Tank Is Old.
If your water heater is nearing the 10 to 12-year mark, chances are that it will need to be replaced soon. Most water heaters will last up to a decade before professionals recommend updating to a newer model. If you have a gas-powered water heater, that lifespan is even shorter. Not to mention that technology has advanced and there have been plenty of advancements in heating coils, pump mechanisms, and energy-efficiency, even just in the past decade.
To find out how old your water heater is, look for the serial number listed on the manufacturer’s sticker. (It should look something like “G06123456”.) The first few digits show the date that the machine was built. The first letter represents the month of manufacture (A for month 1 or January, B for February, and so on) and the first two numbers show the year. In the example above, G is the seventh letter of the alphabet and represents July, and 06 marks the year, telling you that this water heater was constructed in July 2006.
2. Your Water Looks Rusty or Dirty.
If you start to notice a rusty colour or taste coming from your water, your hot water tank is likely due for replacement. Rust and corrosion are unfortunate weaknesses of steel, which is a common material used for household pipes and water heater tanks. If you start to notice rust particles in your hot water, or you see rust-coloured stains around your faucets, there’s a good chance that you’ve got corrosion in your tank and it might lead to leakage. This is a major sign that it’s time to upgrade your water heater to a newer model.
3. Your Hot Water Tank Is Noisy.
Sediment buildup can cause water heater tanks to clank and rumble as they heat, getting louder with age and usage. Most professionals recommend that you flush out your water heater every year to slow down the rate that sediment builds up, but if that hasn’t helped, there is likely a larger problem with your heater. These creaks and thumps could mean that a leak is about to spring—not to mention that the sediment is making your device less energy efficient. This is definitely a sign that it’s time to start looking for a new one.
4. Your Water Heating is Unreliable.
There are many different types of high-efficiency water heaters and they each have their own great features, but if there’s one thing you need any of them to do, it’s heat water! If your current system isn’t cutting it for your home, it might not just be a matter of maintenance or age—it could be that your heater just isn’t properly sized for you and your family’s hot water needs. If you’re unsatisfied with the heat your device is putting out, it could be time to upgrade, whether that means a larger tank volume, more efficient power usage, or a different type of water heater all together. (Did you know there are also tankless water heaters?)
5. Your Energy Bill Is Too High.
Not surprisingly, HVAC and appliance companies have shifted their focus to sustainability, affordability, and energy consumption. Hot water heaters are a big part of that conversation. Simply put, older models weren’t built with efficiency in mind. The effect of your hot water tank on your utility bill can vary depending on the size and material in the tank, the type of coil, and even the source of the heat itself. Consulting with the experts at Simply Green Home Services can help you identify what your household needs are and how to best meet them.