When Do I Need to Replace My Water Heater?
One of the most vital parts of your home's plumbing system is the water heater. Doing exactly what its name suggests, hot water would be scarce in your humble abode without it. However, while your storage tank water heater may seem as if it can withstand the test of time, there's a chance you may need to replace it sooner rather than later.
Here are some things to keep in mind that may indicate you'll need to have yours replaced:
The Water Heater is Nearing Retirement
Sadly, nothing lasts forever — and your water heater is included in that sentiment. On average, a storage-tank water heater will last anywhere from 8 to 12 years. This is possible due to two factors: annual maintenance and the anode rod that resides within it.
Annual maintenance is imperative because a professional will examine your storage tank from head to toe, ensuring that nothing seems out of place. Additionally, they'll also flush the tank to make sure sediment is removed from the bottom, which will provide the heating element with some "room to breathe;" this will help your water heater work properly and efficiently.
Moving on to the anode rod, this important piece to the puzzle helps protect the storage tank's interior by creating electrolysis — the act of collecting all corrosive particles within it. However, if your anode rod has been in use for quite some time and has not been replaced, those corrosive particles could begin to deteriorate the tank's lining — which leads us to our next issue: tank corrosion.
Signs of Corrosion are Present
Always keep this in mind: if you spot any trace of corrosion on your storage tank water heater, it's time to give your trusted plumber a call and replace it. As mentioned above, the minute the anode rod begins to give way, electrolysis will not occur, and corrosive particles will begin to take a toll on the tank's interior — which will eventually become visible on the tank's exterior jacket.
Another way to determine if your water heater is rusting is by paying attention to the color of the water in your home. For instance, if hot water is running out of a faucet and appears to have a yellow or rusty red hue, that can indicate you have a problem on your hands — especially if cold water is coming out crystal clear.
The Tank is Leaking
One of the most visible signs that your water heater needs to be replaced immediately is when you spot a random pool of water around the tank's base. This, unfortunately, can indicate that there is a leak present — and this matter should be addressed right away, since neglecting a leaking tank can lead to much bigger problems.
While your plumber is on the way to your home to save the day, check to make sure that all of the tank's valves are tightened, as well as any fittings. If you notice that they're sealed shut, this could mean that your tank leaks.