hot water faucet handle

One of the questions we get asked a lot is this one: when should I replace my hot water tank? How long will it last?

It’s a good question! Unfortunately, the decision to replace your home’s hot water is often made for you when the one you have fails. You really ought to take the time to look at your options, so waiting until catastrophic failure, such as a flood from a ruptured tank, is not wise. In general, there are four signs you need a new water heater and carefully planning your purchase will ensure you get an energy-efficient, reasonably priced water heater that will give you years of trouble-free service.

The Age Factor

Most water heaters last between 10 and 15 years, although some last much longer. Once you hit the 15 year mark, you’re really on borrowed time. Without regard to brand or manufacturers’ claims, water heaters do not last far beyond that range. Failure may be in as little as eight years when water conditions are harsh or the water heater is in a corrosive environment.

Mineral deposits build up in your hot water heater over time. These reduce its ability to efficiently convert electricity or gas into heat, and that costs you money.

Modern heaters, especially Energy Star-certified models, use 14 to 55 percent less electricity than older models, can produce hot water some 20 percent more efficiently, and can save thousands in gas or electricity costs over their lifetime.

Bottom line: if you’re closing in on that 15-year mark, start at least thinking about buying a new tank.

The Condition of Your Water

This is an easy test you can do. Run hot water in your tub and check its color. If there is a slight rust color in the water, it means you have rust in the tank. You guessed it: you need a replacement. If the water has an odor, looks muddy, or has a lot of sediment in it, your tank is likely to fail soon.

Have you ever done a load of clothes only to find that the whites have become discolored? Again, that could be a sign of rust in your tank.

Another test, and a little less pleasant, is to taste the water. If the hot water tastes metallic, the lining of your hot water heater is breaking down and is likely to leak soon.

Leaks Are Bad News

As your heater ages, check the room in which it sits and look for leaks along the side of the heater, at the circular base, and on the floor. If you see a leak, turn off electricity to the heater and, if gas-fired, turn off the gas. A leaking tank is ready to fail. You should take steps to replace the tank right away.

 Noises: Not Good!

A properly functioning water heater is nearly silent. Sometimes you will hear a gurgle, but these sounds spell trouble: cracking noises, clanging or a whining sound.

Sometimes this is just sediment burning off the heating element, but sometimes this is caused when the heating element is burning itself up. In either case, the sediment and deteriorating element mean replacement is imminent.

We are experts when it comes to hot water heaters. Every year we install more than 500 hot water heaters throughout our service area. We carry a full line of conventional hot water tanks as well as the newer tankless hot water heaters. What’s more, we have more than 20 highly trained technicians servicing all of Northeast Ohio in trucks equipped with GPS systems – we could literally be right around the corner!

We can help you buy exactly the right size water heater for your home, and we’ll professionally install it, saving you time, money and a lot of aggravation.

When you call The Plumbing Source, you’ve made the right call! Call us at 877-768-7239.