When to repair a water heater and when to replace one
Hidden under your house or in a dark closet, your water heater probably isn’t something you think about much on a daily basis, however, it is something that most of us depend on every day when we go to take a hot bath or shower. In fact, most of us don’t think about our water heaters at all until there’s a problem. Have you ever been forced to take a lukewarm or cold shower in the morning because the water wouldn’t heat up? Most of us had, and unless you enjoy taking cold showers, it isn’t fun. Water heaters occasionally stop working and need to be repaired or replaced, depending on the circumstances. In this Pacific Coast Plumbing blog, we’ll go into some of the most common reasons why water heaters need repair as well as the signs indicating when it’s time to get a new one.
Common Water Heater Problems
Like many home appliances, water heaters are subject to malfunctions from time to time. The typical lifespan of most water heater units is about 8-12 years. Both electrical and gas water heaters can malfunction for a variety of reasons. The main problems associated with water heating units are:
- Water temperature problems: The most obvious sign that your water heater isn’t working right is when you notice that the water in your home isn’t heating up to the desired temperature. This can be due to a variety of malfunctions, depending on the type of water heater you have installed in your home, but can be due to a buildup of sediment in your water heater tank, lack of insulation around hot water pipes, power or gas being disconnected, pilot light out (gas heater), or a lowered temperature setting on the thermostat.
- Leaks: Another problem with your water comes in the form of leaks. Leaking pressure-relief valves will need to be replaced while leaks coming from the water supply pipes might be require a tightening of the fittings or fitting replacement. Leaks at hot and cold connections can be repaired/ replaced.
- Noise: If you notice hissing or sizzling noises coming from your water heater unit, it is likely a result of sediment that has collected inside your water heater tank. This requires a draining and soaking of your tank.
Maintenance: This can prolong the lifespan of your water heater by flushing and de-scaling your water heater.
Signs You Should Replace Your Water Heater
The lifespan of a water heater unit will largely depend on their usage, but typically range anywhere from 8-12 years. If you have a large family, you can expect a shorter lifespan than if you live alone and using hot water sparingly. Water heaters at or near the end of their lifespan (more than 10 years old), are more likely to leak and malfunction, and should be replaced soon. Some indicators that your water heater is due to be replaced include:
- Leaks around tank base: If leaks spring around the base of the tank, it’s an indication that it needs to be replaced.
- Frequent water temperature issues: If your water heater works erratically or fails to heat water at all, it should probably be replaced.
Installing a tankless water heater
New, tankless water heaters heat water using high-powered burners, and are more energy-efficient than older gas-fired water heater tanks.