When Should You Replace a Water Heater?

March 3, 2022

As a general rule, you can expect most standard tank-based water heaters to last from eight to 12 years. This means if your water heater is more than 10 years old, it’s probably time to start thinking about a replacement.

However, there are some additional factors you should consider as well, including the presence of any of a number of warning signs indicating the water heater is close to failure. Here are just a few examples of some of the signs that your water heater is wearing down and you’ll need to invest in a replacement soon:

  • You haven’t kept up with maintenance: Regular maintenance is critical for extending the life of your water heater. If you do not prioritize preventative maintenance, you might end up needing to replace it sooner than would otherwise have been necessary. You should make it a point to drain, flush and clean the tank once a year, especially if you live in an area with hard water.
  • You’ve noticed leaks: If you have leaks coming from your water heater, it’s important to replace it before the problem becomes worse and the tank explodes. Signs of leaks include moisture or puddles around the base and corrosion on the tank. Get a professional out immediately to get the problem taken care of.
  • The water appears rusty: Rusty water and water discoloration are signs that your unit is underperforming. Either the anode rod needs to be replaced or the tank itself is beginning to corrode from the inside, meaning there will soon be leaks and possibly an explosion. If you notice rusty water, get a professional out to analyze your tank immediately and determine what steps you must take.
  • You’ve been hearing unusual knocking sounds: Loud noises are an indication that there is a buildup of sediment within the system. The harder the sediment gets, the more it will float around the tank and cause knocking and rumbling sounds. Flushing the water heater will remove deposits from the tank’s heating elements and preserve its condition for a longer time.
  • The water isn’t getting hot enough: If your water stays cold even after you’ve let the hot water tap run for a while, this probably means one of the heating elements of the system is broken. It might be able to be repaired or replaced, or you might have to replace the entire water heater—a trusted plumber will be able to determine the extent of the problem and recommend the best course of action.
  • The water appears cloudy: You might not notice any rust in the water, but cloudy water can still be a cause for concern. This could mean you have an excess amount of sediment in the water heater. This might be able to be resolved simply by flushing and cleaning the heater, but it could also indicate irreversible problems with the water heater that can only be resolved by replacing the whole unit.

For more information about when you should replace a water heater, contact the experts at Moody & McClendon Plumbing, Inc. today.

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