When to Replace Your Water Heater: A Comprehensive Guide

A Girl Thinking About Replacing Water Heater

Water heaters are an essential part of home comfort and convenience. There are different types of water heaters like gas, electric and tankless.

Read more: Water Heater Buying Guide.

Most people only think about their water heater once it stops working. And by then, it can be a real headache to figure out whether you should repair or replace your water heater. When is the best time to replace your water heater? This comprehensive guide will discuss the factors that play into deciding whether to repair or replace your water heater – from age and lifespan to energy efficiency and cost.

1. Flow of Hot Water is Poor

Hot water from the heater may be slower than usual, take too long to come out of the faucet, or may need to be hot enough. A build-up of sediment in the tank could cause this. Flushing the tank and draining any accumulated deposits should help improve flow and temperature. A professional can help identify the issue and recommend repairing or replacing it.

2. No Hot Water at All

If you find no hot water coming out of the tank, it may be due to the following:

a) a defective upper thermostat

b) a faulty heating element

c) corrosion in the tank

d) air trapped inside the tank.

If your water heater is over 8-10 years old, it's worth replacing the whole unit instead of attempting repairs. This is because older water heaters are much less efficient and will cost more than newer models.

3. Unusual Noises from the Water Heater

Here are some types of noises you may hear from your water heater and what they could mean:

  • Rumbling or popping noise. This could be a sign of sediment buildup on the bottom of the tank, which can cause decreased efficiency and increased wear and tear on the unit. A professional plumber can flush out sediment buildup, but if it happens frequently, it might be time to replace the water heater.
  • Knocking or ticking noise. This could mean an issue with your heating element or thermostat, and you may need to have a professional inspect it for any potential repairs.
  • Hissing noise. This could indicate a gas leak in your water heater and is an urgent issue that needs to be addressed immediately. Contact a professional plumber right away for help with this problem.

4. Rust Colored Water

Water heaters are designed to contain water, but when the tank’s integrity is compromised, rust and other debris can find their way into your home’s tap water. This often happens when corrosion occurs inside the tank due to age or poor maintenance. If you see rusty-colored water in your house, it’s likely time to replace your water heater.

5. Leaking Tank

Leakage around the tank's base is a telltale sign your water heater needs to be replaced. The leak source can often be hard to identify and fix, making replacement the most cost-effective solution. If a water heater is leaking, it is essential to turn it off and stop using it until you can get a proper inspection done. Leaking water is hazardous and can lead to more damage in your home.

Call Moncrief for heating and air in Atlanta. We specialize in water heater services, including repairs, replacements, and installations. Knowing when to replace your water heater is essential for avoiding costly repairs that won't solve the underlying problem.