For many people, the first sign that there is a problem with the water heater happens in the morning before work. The water pouring from the showerhead is ice cold. Another big mess can be a tank that dumps its entire water storage onto the floor. In either case, you have probably missed the early warning signs that could have saved you the stress and headache of cleanup.
Early Water Heater Warning Signs
Water heaters have a limited life span. Over time, sediment and corrosion cause inefficiencies and leaks to develop in your tank. As these problems develop, your heater may produce less hot water or start leaking all over the floor. Learn to look for the early warning signs before things get to this point. You might notice banging or clanging sounds, rusty water or condensation.
Banging and clanging sounds start to happen when the sediment on the bottom of your tank builds up passed tolerable levels. That sediment essentially gets cooked to the bottom of the tank and makes noise as the water heater heats the water.
Rusty water can indicate that the tank is rusting from the inside out. Of course, if you have pipes made from galvanized iron, the issue might also be your plumbing. Be sure to check before you order a replacement water heater.
Condensation around you water heater is a good indication that the tank has developed a small leak or crack. If you catch it quickly, you might be able to repair your existing tank, but if not, prepare to replace your water heater.
Perform Preventative Maintenance
To avoid the hassle of an unplanned water heater replacement, you might want to add a few regular checks on to your to-do list. A little bit of maintenance might help prolong the life of your water heater. Note down the age of your water heater, and consider replacing it every 10 years or so. The average life of a water heater is around a decade. Flush the tank every year to get rid of some of the sediment build up. Also, be sure to check the anode rod. This rod collects corrosive elements and can get eaten away. Replacement cost for this part is minimal, but every bit of corrosive that sticks to the rod is one less ounce to eat away at your tank.
Replacing Your Water Heater
Even with good maintenance habits and regular inspections, you will eventually need water heater replacement. Modern tanks can help save money with better energy efficiency, so while the upfront cost can be a little daunting, a new water heater is often a good deal in the long run.