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How to Know Your Water Heater Needs to Retire

Sunday afternoons are peak usage times in your household for water, and thusly the time when your water heater is worked the hardest. Dad is in the kitchen, making one of his weekly, highly involved, made from scratch dinners; Mom has just started the fourth load of laundry for the day; the brothers have teamed up in the basement to give the dogs their weekly bath.

One average, a United States family of four people will use around 400 gallons of water per day. Life will not stop for a broken down water heater, and you should not have to either. Watch out for these things to replace your heater before it’s too late.

  • 1. Your water heater has accumulated rust. Water heaters are predominantly made of steel, which is vulnerable to rust. Depending on the severity of the rust on your water heater and the pipes leading from it to your home’s faucets, you may be soon faced with leaks or sanitary issues with your water as rust flakes enter the tank or pipes from the inside. Rusty pipes are a different battle in and of themselves; unfortunately, when a water heater starts to accumulate rust, the best thing to do is replace it before it collapses or leaks. Even if you cannot see any rust on the outside of the tank, if your water is rust colored and you do not know if it is from the heater or the pipes, professional plumbing services can help you spot the corroding culprit.
  • 2. Water is pooling around the water heater. Part of the duties of a water heater is, well, holding the water in the tank. Replacing a water heater is the easiest way to solve the issue of water pooling around the heater. You may be at risk of damaging your personal items with moisture or humidity. In older water heaters, the leak is most likely due to metal deformities from the thousands of times it heats and cools with the water inside of it. Leaks may also be due to loose or damaged pipes and fittings; you’ll quickly know when to hire a plumber or plumbing company as the water continues to accumulate on the floor.
  • 3. Your water heater isn’t keeping up. If a lack of hot water is leading you to asking yourself “When do I need to replace my water heater?” don’t act too soon; someone may have accidentally turned down the thermostat on the heater too far, and you don’t want to have to pay a plumbing company just to tell you that. However, since most households keep the thermostat at a constant temperature, that is unlikely. You may be using a tank that is too small for the size of your home and the number of people in it, or the heating element of the water heater may be broken. Either of these issues is cause to start finding the right plumber or plumbing company to install an upgraded water heater.
  • 4. Your water heater is old.
  • You do not need to have a professional plumbing company from plumbing services to come out to diagnose this one. All of the above issues usually point to an obsolete water heater, but knowing the approximate age of your heater before any issues even arise can help you prepare for the time to replace it before it arrives. Most heaters have a life expectancy of around eight to ten years. Even if there are no apparent symptoms of failure in the heater after a decade of use, it is still wise to replace the heater at this time. It should be noted that gas water heaters are known to quit a couple years sooner than others, with an average life span of six to eight years. If you do not know when the water heater in your home was installed, it is usually the first two numbers in the serial number of the heater, following one alphabetical character. When in doubt, contact a plumbing services professional to help you.

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