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Is It Time to Replace your Water Heater?

A water heater is a crucial appliance in any modern home.  It makes our showers comfortable, keeps our hands clean, and helps us scrub our dishes to a shine.  But it’s not always a device that we think about on a regular basis unless it stops working.  Usually, water heaters let you know they’re getting ready to go out.

  • If your water is not heating up like it used to, or if you run out of hot water at a noticeably faster rate than previously, there may be an issue.  It could be something as simple as a heating element that has gone out and that can be replaced by your plumber.  However, it can also be an indicator of mineral sediment that has coated and hardened on the bottom of your tank.
  • Rusty water is another sign of a problem.  You’ll see this when you turn on the tap and the water that comes out is an orangey color.  While the problem could be in your pipes themselves, you can flush your water heater to find out if it is the source of the rust.  Water heaters have an anode rod, which is basically a sacrificial piece of metal that attracts corrosive materials and keeps them away from the tank itself.  If it hasn’t been replaced regularly, then the tank itself may be rusting.
  • Water heaters should be pretty quiet while they work away down in the basement or in your utility closet.  If you hear a loud banging noise, then the heater is working far harder than it should.  This is usually due to the presence of settlement in the tank, and is a sure sign that something should be done.
  • Check your water heater regularly for any leaks or rusting.  This is another warning of corrosion, which will only lead to heater failure.
  • How old is your unit?  Most water heaters last eight to twelve years, which varies depending on maintenance and design.  If you don’t know, you can usually figure out the age of the heater by using the model and serial numbers and the manufacturer’s website.

Have your water heater professionally maintained by a local plumber, such as A&W Plumbing.  Good maintenance is key to extending the life of the appliance and saving you money in the long run.  Never do any maintenance or replacements that you don’t feel comfortable with, and leave it to the experts.  Keep your eyes open for these signs and symptoms that it may be time to have it replaced. Before you replace anything, give A&W a call for a thorough diagnosis.