When to Replace a Water Heater

An instant electric hot water system is a vital plumbing fixture for any home. Keeping it functional is of paramount importance. There are several signs that the water heater at your home is not functioning well, including leaks, water not getting hot enough, or even discolored water coming out of your faucets and showerheads.

While a plumber may repair some problems, others are beyond repair, making a replacement necessary. Read on to learn when an electric water heater replacement is required.

1.  Maintenance and Care History

Proper maintenance is essential to extend your water heater’s lifespan. Otherwise, you may have to frequently repair your electric water heater or even replace the unit sooner. To keep the water heater in a good and functional condition, drain, flush and clean the water tank at least once per year. Does your locality have hard water? Consider servicing the electrical water heater half-yearly.

Compared to a tank-based water heater, a tankless water heater requires less maintenance. However, flush the hot water system regularly to ensure no sediment buildup caused by mineral and lime buildup is present. Turn off your tankless water heater and then flush it off using white vinegar and water for an hour to remove the deposits. If you regularly repair the instant electric hot water system, it may be time to replace it. It is because the cost of changing the system may be lower than that of repairing it.

2.  The Lifespan of Your Water Heater

How old is your water heater? If it is beyond ten years old, consider a replacement. A properly maintained tankless electric water heater may last for over 20 years. A tank-type water heater may last more than a decade with proper maintenance.

Repairing an aging water heater may prove costly in the long run, making a replacement the only sensible option. To have a more accurate record of the lifespan of your water heater, look at its warranty.

3.  Signs of Wear and Tear

Have you seen your water and electrical utility bills rise in the recent past? This is a sign of imminent trouble. It is time to inspect your system if it is using extra electrical power to heat the water. So, what should you look for?

1)  Rusty Water

If your heating unit releases discolored water, it is a clear sign it is underperforming. Rust/Brown colored water or water having a metallic odor may mean several things. Either you need to replace the sacrificial anode rod, or the tank is rusting because the steel lining is corroding. If you have observed this sign, you need to call a professional plumber to replace the affected part.

2)  Leaks

Is your water heater leaking? You should replace it immediately. Although there are many causes of leaks, the buildup of pressure inside the tank is the leading cause. It is common when the water temperature or pressure is too high. An improperly working relief valve can also build the tank’s pressure and temperature.

Do not neglect a leak as it may cause a tank explosion. If you see puddles or moisture around the base of your water heater or corrosion within the tank, these are signs of a leaking electrical water heater. Call a licensed and experienced plumber if you see these signs,

3)  Cold Water

Does your water remain cold even after turning on the hot water faucet? It is a sign of a broken heating element.

4)  Knocking Noises

Is your water heating system producing loud knocking noises? They indicate the buildup of sediments within the tank.

Because of hardening, the sediment moves inside the water tank, causing rumbling, gurgling, and knocking sounds. To prevent wear and tear, flush the water tank regularly. It removes the deposits lodged on the heating element of the tank.

5)  Cloudy Water

Cloudy water shows a buildup of sediment in the water heater.

When Can You Repair That Water Heater?

You may occasionally repair your water heater by replacing several vital elements. The replaceable parts are valves, igniters, motors, thermostats, heating elements, thermocouples, and burner assembly. You may repair the water heater when it has a failing replaceable part and is less than ten years old.

However, if the heating unit has attained its lifespan, shows the wear and tear signs above, and has not been maintained properly, then you should replace it.

Bottom Line

An instant electric hot water system is a vital part of your home’s plumbing fixtures. It ensures that hot water is supplied continuously into your home throughout the year. However, to ensure the unit functions properly, you need to maintain it regularly.

Although you may repair the unit, the extent of the damage may be beyond repair, making a replacement necessary. Replacing some parts of the water heater makes more financial sense than repeated repairs.


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