Water heaters are one of those items in your home that you don’t often think about – until you run out of hot water, that is. The mechanics of both the tank-style and tankless water heaters are designed to be extremely durable and reliable. However, in order to maximize the life of your unit, you do need to incorporate a regularly scheduled maintenance routine to keep your water heat performing optimally.
Whether you and your family are enjoying hot showers, using the dishwasher or running the washing machine, no one can argue that hot water is a valued commodity. Just like electricity or an internet connection, we expect our water heater to “just work”, and for the most part, it does give us years and years of reliable service.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to tell when your water heater is nearing the end of life if you don’t know what the subtle signs are. You certainly don’t want to wait until you are in the middle of a shower!
Here are 5 signs your water heater may need to be replaced:
The Age of Your Water Heater
Most water heaters will give you a decade of service. Some more, some less, depending on the level or care and type of water you have. If you inherited the water heater when you bought the house (or if you’re renting), be sure to check the manufacturer’s label on the unit itself. Here you will find the serial number, model number and date of manufacture. You may also find that the installer hand wrote the date of installation on the label too.
A humming noise is probably normal with your electric water heater. When water flows through the heating element, the flow of the water may cause the element to vibrate. You may also hear a ticking or tapping sound, which could be caused by a heat trap or check valve near the entrance of where the water enters or exits the unit. However, if either of these noises seem excessively loud or frequent, then it’s probably time to consult with a plumbing professional on the Outer Banks.
If your hot water appears brown or rusty, then it is most likely a sign of mineral deposit build-up, corrosion and possibly bacteria growth. It’s likely the sign of an aging system and should be replaced as soon as possible to avoid encountering contaminated water or experiencing a full-on failure of the unit.
Water Pooling Around the Unit
A leak in your water heater is a definite sign that repair is needed. At the very least it could simply be a loose valve or gasket. However, if your tank is an older model, it could be that the tank has corroded due to sediment build up at the bottom of the tank. Don’t risk water damage to your home; contact a plumber immediately. We can advise immediate steps that can be taken until we can get to your home to replace the unit.
Hot Water in Limited (or No) Supply
If power is getting to your unit (for gas units the pilot light will be lit), then the inability to get hot water running is a sure sign of an issue. Your heating element may have gone on the fritz, or perhaps those pesky minerals have built up again. Either way, there is a problem and it should be investigated further to get hot water accessible in your home again.
Understand the Signs
A failing unit operates less efficiently, leading to higher energy use and ultimately higher costs. Consulting with your local Outer Banks plumber is the smartest step to take.
Considering a Tankless Water Heater?
Tankless units are a popular choice and are extremely high performing. If you are thinking about going tankless, you can learn more about it in our blog.