When Should I Replace My Water Heater?


Water heaterNobody wants to think about replacing a water heater, but this is one appliance that falls into the “better safe than sorry” category. Poor efficiency eats up energy and costs you dearly on utility bills. But even more worrisome is the possibility of a leak that turns into a flood.

Nothing good can come from a water heater gone bad. Unless, of course, you count the installation of a shiny, efficient new appliance. If the hot water in your home has your attention for all the wrong reasons, here are a few indicators that it’s time to shop for a new model.

It’s Older and Maintenance Has Been Sketchy

Once a water heater reaches the 10-year-mark, it’s starting to feel its age. All sorts of problems might creep up one after the other. A 10-year-old water heater isn’t necessarily doomed to fail at any moment. But its days of clean and efficient operation are beginning to fade.

Age alone isn’t the worst issue, however. A lack of regular maintenance plus age is cause for more concern. If you’ve regularly flushed out the tank and maintained the unit properly, it might have a few good years left. If not, it could be on its way out.

You Keep Raising the Thermostat

Do you find that your water cools off at the tap much quicker than it used to? And do you adjust the thermostat to make up the difference? Water that isn’t hot enough might result from a tank leak. And each time you adjust the thermostat, you could put more strain on the appliance.

Colder weather might mimic a water heater problem. Water coming in from the city supply line requires more time and resources to heat. But if the weather is warm or mild and you still run out of hot water, a call to your technician is probably in order.

Water heater

Sediment Comes Through the Tap

The last thing that you might expect when you turn on a faucet is a handful of gunk. Grainy material or rust indicate that the water heater has sediment inside, and perhaps a lot of it.

Sediment can be naturally occurring. Minerals in the water build up over time and can spill out through the tap. This type of sediment can usually be flushed out, at least if the problem hasn’t advanced too far. But it might also indicate rust inside the tank or through older supply lines, which could mean that you need a new water heater.

Energy Bills Creep Up and Up

Even if the appliance is functioning like it should, poor energy efficiency might inspire you to replace it. A top-of-the-line water heater built several years ago won’t compare to modern standards. Check the label to be sure, as standards changed in 2015.

The U.S. Department of Energy‘s National Appliance Energy Conservation Act requires higher efficiencies now than ever before. Look for the EF Rating on your appliance and compare it with a few newer models of comparable size. As an example, the standard in 2010 for a 40-gallon electric water heater was EF .59, but in 2015 the standard raised to EF .62. This rating indicates how much energy is used to heat the water, and a small change can mean significant savings.

You’ve Started Chasing Repairs

The average homeowner probably doesn’t worry from day to day about when the water heater will finally go kaput. It’s when problems start creeping up that it really gets attention. Repairs are a primary reason to look into replacement.

Many water heater problems are simple to resolve with a call to your service technician. But if you find that you’re making the call more and more often, the end is probably near. Repair bills add up, and you’ll probably lose efficiency in the process, too. A new model will cause much fewer problems and save energy.

It stands in a basement, utility closet or even a garage and barely gets an attention at all. But you rely on your water heater every day. Most of the time, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. You feed the appliance water and energy, and it provides delightful hot water for showers, baths, dishes and laundry.

Unfortunately, no appliance lasts forever. But Rodenhiser has been the trusted name in plumbing for Massachusetts homeowners in Route 495 / 128 area for over 85 years. If your water heater is on the fritz, we can help make it right. Check out our booking page and schedule an appointment today.

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