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How Do I Know When It’s Time to Replace My Water Heater?

When it comes to your home’s water heater, you don’t always know when it’s time to replace it. The signs of a failing water heater can be subtle, and it’s important to pay attention to your water heater’s performance to ensure your family’s safety and comfort. Here are some signs to look for that could indicate it may be time to replace your water heater.

Inadequate Hot Water

If you’re noticing that your hot water is running out too quickly, or there’s not enough hot water for multiple people to shower at the same time, this could be a sign that your water heater is failing. A lack of hot water could be due to several things, including a faulty thermostat, a broken heating element, or simply old age.

Leaks and Rust Around Your Hot Water Heater

If you notice any leaks coming from your water heater, or if you see rust on the outside of the tank, this is a sign that your water heater may be failing. Leaks can be caused by corrosion, a cracked tank, or a faulty part, and should be addressed as soon as possible to avoid any major water damage. 

Sometimes leaks originate from the tank itself while other times there’s a much easier fix. For instance, you could have a loose water hose connection, bad gasket, or faulty pressure relief valve - all of which only require an adjustment or replacement of that particular part. If, however, you see that the leak is coming directly from the tank itself, you’ll likely need to have a new water heater installed.

Strange Noises Coming From Your Hot Water Heater

If your water heater is making strange noises such as rumbling or popping, this could be a sign that sediment has built up in the tank. This can reduce the efficiency of your water heater and can lead to major damage if left unchecked.

Unpleasant Odor

If you’re noticing an unpleasant odor coming from your water heater, this could be a sign that minerals, sediment, and even bacteria have started to build up in the tank. This can be a health hazard and should be addressed as soon as possible.

However, just because your water looks or smells a bit strange doesn’t always mean that you’ll need a new hot water heater. In many cases, you’ll just need to schedule a service call. Problems caused by mineral or sediment buildup can oftentimes be remedied with a thorough flushing of your hot water tank. 

Age of Hot Water Heater

The average age of a water heater depends on several factors, including the type of water heater, the quality of the unit, and how it is maintained. Gas-powered hot water heaters tend to last longer than electric models, usually for 10 to 15 years. Electric models last about 6 to 12 years. Tankless water heaters typically last for 20 years or more. However, all water heaters can last longer if they are well maintained, with regular maintenance and care.

If your water heater is getting up in age, it may be time to start looking for a replacement. Even if your water heater is still in working condition, it may be in your best interest to replace it due to the potential for costly repairs and the advancements in energy efficiency that have been made in the last decade.

Call WM Buffington if You Suspect You Need a New Water Heater

If you’re noticing any of the above signs, or if your hot water heater just doesn’t seem to be working as well as it used to, it’s important to schedule an inspection by a professional HVAC technician. Trying to fix a failing water heater can be dangerous and can lead to further damage. A professional can help you determine the best course of action and can help you choose the right replacement water heater for your home.

If you suspect that you have a problem with your hot water heater or it’s nearing the end of its lifespan, give WM Buffington a call! We have over 70 years in the business and have seen and fixed it all!  Give us a call today to set up an appointment and get your free estimate! 

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