Your water heater has the big job of keeping your water warm for baths, showers and washing. While it's possible to get your water heater repaired when small problems occur, it is useful to know when the time is right to replace the water heater completely. You can expect a water heater to last from 8-12 years. If you have problems and your water is at least 8 years old, it's probably not worth the cost of repairing unless the problem is really small.
Figuring Out the Age of Your Water Heater
To learn how old your water heater is, check the sticker provided by the maker of the water heater. It will contain a series of numbers that start with a letter. The letter will indicate what month the water heater was made, using the system of A for January, B for February and so on. The next two numbers indicate the year the water heater was made. Once you know how old your water heater is, you will have a better idea if it time to repair or replace it.
You Find Rusty Water on the Floor
First make sure that the water you find on your floor is actually coming from your water heater. If the rusty water is coming out of the pipe on the hot side of your heater, it is likely that rust is forming on the inside of your water heater. Over time, this corrosion on the inside of your water heater will cause the heater to leak. It's only a matter of time before your water heater needs to be replaced when it is corroding from the inside.
If You Hear Clanking Sounds From Inside Your Water Heater
During the life of your water heater, sediment will form at the bottom of the tank. Over time, this sediment hardens, turning into small pebbles. When the water heats up, the hardened sediment will knock against the sides of the tank. A buildup of sediment causes your water heater to be less efficient, and the additional time it takes to heat up water make your tank even more susceptible to cracks. When you hear clanking sounds as the water gets hot, check around your water heater for signs of moisture and cracking.
It's time to replace your water heater if you are having problems and it's more than 8 years old, rusty water is coming from it, or you have clanking sounds coming from within. For more information on this topic, you can read more here.
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