How To Tell When You Need A New Hot Water Heater

Your hot water heater usually gives you signs when it's about to fail. This gives you time to select a new heater and have it installed before you run out of hot water. An obvious sign of a heater failure is when the water no longer gets hot enough. However, there are other signs to watch for that you may not be familiar with. Here's how to tell when you need to get a new water heater installed.

Age Of The Heater

One thing to consider is the age of the hot water heater. If you don't know how old it is or its expected lifespan, you can find out from the manufacturer. It might be as easy as getting the number off the identification label and looking it up online. The reason you want to know is so you can be ready for the heater to fail. This way you can be prepared financially to have a new heater installed. Even more importantly, if the heater is indoors, you might be able to prevent damage from a water leak that often occurs when a hot water heater gets old.

Foul Smelling Water

If you notice the water smells bad when you bathe or take a shower, it could be due to mineral buildup in the heater rather than due to a problem with your plumbing. If this is the case, the odor will be more noticeable when you turn on the hot tap. In addition to the foul odor, you may actually see sediment and rust in the water. One way to tell if the problem is with the tank is to drain some of the water out of the tank. If the water doesn't turn clear after a couple of minutes, then the mineral buildup is probably in the tank rather than your water pipes.

Unusual Noises

If your water heater has been silent for years, then suddenly you hear unusual noises when it kicks on, it could be a sign that the tank is overheating due to mineral buildup. The buildup clogs and coats the inside of the tank so it has to work harder to make hot water. This is a bad situation because when the tank overheats, the metal of the tank is placed under increased stress. This promotes cracking, which leads to leaking. If you see water around the base of the water heater, even a small amount, it's a sign of cracking and you'll want to get a new heater installed before the leaking gets worse.

If you've decided it's time to get a new heater before you wake up some morning to no hot water, then it's best to call a contractor to help you select the right size and install it for you. You can buy a water heater from a home improvement store for DIY installation, but it isn't an easy or safe job. The heaters are heavy and difficult to maneuver. Plus, whether you have an electric model or gas, connecting the heater to the power source can be dangerous to do. It's better to be safe and hire a plumber, like Towers Murray Plumbing , who follows local codes so the heater is installed safely and will have a long life.