Water Heater Gone Bad? How To Tell If You Need A Replacement & How To Prolong The Life Of Your New One

Posted on: 18 January 2017

If you are like many homeowners, then you likely take your hot water heater for granted or even forget it exists until, all of a sudden, you realize that, when you turn on the hot water, it is no longer hot or begins coming out in a trickle. If you turned your faucet onto the "hot" setting or, even worse, your water went cold in the middle of your shower (eek!), then you likely wonder just what is wrong with your hot water heater and whether you will need to have it repaired or completely replaced. Here are common signs that you need a complete hot water heater replacement and how to increase the life span of the replacement. 

Signs A Hot Water Heater Needs to Be Replaced

If your hot water heater is down in the basement or in another location that is not immediately visible, then it is a good idea to go take a look at it to check for the tell-tale signs that it will most likely have to be replaced and not repaired. Signs that your hot water heater will likely need to be replaced include water leaking from anywhere on the tank (if there is a puddle of water next to the tank and there is no other possible source of it, then it is likely leaking) and one or more corroded or rusted areas of the tank. 

If your tank is leaking, then it is important to shut off the water heater and disconnect it from its power source, then call for a water heater replacement immediately before the entire tank drains and damages the floor or other items near it. 

If you notice rust and/or corrosion on your hot water heater, then while it may not be leaking yet, those are signs that after a bit more corrosion, the tank is likely to spring a leak. Replacing your hot water heater now can lead to less worry about "what will become damaged' when the corrosion eventually does turn into a hole that releases the water from your tank. 

Are you getting "warm water" from your faucet instead of hot water when your hot water temperature gauge hasn't been adjusted to a lower temperature? Two possible causes include a malfunctioning or broken tank dip tube or a problem with your tank heating element itself. If it turns out the dip tube is broken, then there is a good chance that just the dip tube needs to be replaced. A broken heating element can also be replaced. However, depending on how old your hot water heater is, it may be better to replace it altogether -- if you haven't maintained your hot water heater properly, then you can only expect it to last from 12 to 14 years

How To Increase the Lifespan Of Your New Hot Water Heater

Are you disappointed to hear that an "ignored" hot water heater typically only lasts from 4 to 6 years before needing to be replaced? You may cheer up when you hear that you can increase the life expectancy of your replacement water heater just by performing a little bi-annual maintenance on it. A properly maintained, good-quality water heater can last up to 20 years. 

Along with having your water heater inspected twice-a-year, you can ask to have your tank "drained and flushed" to get rid of the sediment that builds up in your tank and causes it to degrade and even become clogged. If you are an avid DIY-er, then you may even be able to drain and flush it yourself by following these handy instructions on bobvila.com. 

If your hot water heater is malfunctioning and you notice any of the tell-tale signs that it needs to be replaced, then call for a water heater replacement, so your family can begin enjoying hot water again. In addition, perform bi-annual maintenance on your new tank, so you can look forward to it lasting much longer than your old tank. 

For more information, talk to a professional like Quality Plumbing.