Over the years, many of us regularly upgrade our ovens, dishwashers, televisions, washing machines, and dryers, especially when conducting renovation work. However, one vital appliance that doesn’t often get thought about until it goes on the fritz is the water heater.
You want to replace your machine before it dies on you completely, so you’re not left without any hot water in your home. Here are some signs it’s on the way out to look out for.
Your Machine is Old
Every appliance has a certain lifespan, including a water heater. Like other machines, this product wears out over time. When properly maintained, heater tanks should last somewhere between eight to 12 years, or sometimes even 15 or 20 years for quality electric systems.
If your appliance is over ten years, it’s worth considering whether a replacement might be in order, rather than waiting for a complete breakdown to occur. If you have access to the original warranty information, check it to see if a timeline is mentioned.
Frequent Repairs Are Needed
Over time, water heaters need occasional repairs, just like other electrical products. For instance, sometimes units need replaceable parts swapped out for new ones, such as igniters, motors, valves, heating elements, thermostats, etc.
However, if you’re continually having trouble with your current appliance and have to outlay thousands of dollars on repairs, it’s probably worth buying a new machine, rather than continuing to try to keep the old one running. After all, not only is there the monetary cost to factor in, but also the inconvenience, stress, and the time you need to spend waiting for tradespeople.
If you do buy a new machine, it pays to spend a little extra to get additional cover. Check out home warranty prices online, and you’ll soon see that you can purchase an affordable annual cover that will reduce maintenance and repair costs on the modern machine over the coming years.
The System Leaks
Another sign that you need to go shopping for a new water heater is if the machine is leaking. Leaks tend to occur when pressure builds up inside the heater’s tank, when the relief valve stops working correctly or when water pressure or temperature becomes too high.
When leaks arise, you have a serious problem on your hands, and you’ll likely need to replace the appliance. Be on the lookout for a visible leak on the machine or any standing water around it. The tanks can’t be repaired when they leak, and continuing to use the unit when it has this issue increases the risk of flooding or even a tank explosion. Occasionally leaks stem from valves, though, which may be able to be repaired, so have a professional inspect the appliance to confirm the best next steps.
It Emits Strange Noises
Something else you don’t want to notice is that your water heater starts emitting strange noises. If you hear knocking, banging, rumbling, gurgling, and other loud noises coming from the machine, especially when it’s heating water, the unit is likely getting to the end of its life.
The noises will probably be due to sediment building up and hardening around the heater. As the deposit moves or gets heated, it can produce the sounds you hear. Sediment also corrodes the heating element in the machine and creates scale that makes it harder for the system to work efficiently.
If the noises are only slight and infrequent so far, you may be able to prevent further deterioration by having the unit regularly flushed to remove deposits from the tank’s heating elements. Again, have a licensed professional consult on this work to ensure it’s done appropriately.
Your Water Doesn’t Heat
A clear sign of a problem is when water in your home doesn’t actually heat up as you want. If your machine goes from one day providing lovely hot water to suddenly only giving you lukewarm or even cold water (yet your household water usage hasn’t changed), start by checking the thermostat. Adjust the thermostat to see if that makes a difference to temperatures. If not, the heating element on the unit may be broken. In this case, you might be able to get it replaced. If not (perhaps the product is too old for spare parts to be available), start shopping for a new water heater.
Some other signs that you may need a replacement include strange smells coming from your machine, evidence of rust or corrosion, or the fact that your household demand for hot water has risen and the current product is inadequate. No matter why you buy a new machine, always do your research, check warranty conditions, and have a product installed by an experienced contractor.