The news that the water heater needs to be repaired or replaced is not something that a homeowner wants to hear. After all, hot water is not something you can easily do without while you save for a new heater. However, being able to read the signs that your heater is failing can buy you a little time and help you to avoid even more costly clean-up and repairs if your heater springs a major leak.
How to tell if your water heater needs to be repaired or replaced
1. Leaks. Obviously, a large pool of standing water around your water tank is a sign that you have a leak and the tank will likely need to be replaced. However, not all leaks are as obvious as that. A small drip can compromise the integrity of your tank, but not leave that large puddle.
2. Corrosion around the base of the tank. Signs of rust and corrosion around the base of the tank usually means that water is escaping the tank. It's a good idea to call an HVAC technician to evaluate the problem.
3. Your heater is at least 10 years old. The average lifespan of a storage tank water heater is 10 years. That means if yours is older than that, you're on borrowed time. If your heater is located in the basement where a leak won't cause any damage, you can probably safely wait until it fails to replace the unit (assuming you don't have valuables stored there). However, if your heater is situated in a closet, your garage or other place where a water leak will cause damage, you'll want to consider replacing your heater when it gets to be 10 years old.
4. Rust-colored water. Rusty water is a sign that your heater is rusting on the inside of the tank. When that happens, it's usually just a matter of time until the tank springs a leak and needs to be replaced.
5. Rumbling in the tank. If you hear noise in your water tank when it's heating, that could be a sign that sediment has built up in the base of the tank. Usually, this problem can be fixed by having an HVAC technician flush out your tank.
While spending money to repair a water heater is not something that most homeowners anticipate, fixing and/or replacing your heater at the first sign of trouble can avoid major repairs and water clean-up further down the road. Contact a plumbing company, like Wallace Plumbing, Inc, for help maintaining your water heater.