Hot water heaters are one of the most overlooked appliances in the home.
You can go for months – even years – without giving yours a thought, and all the time it works silently and reliably, making your showers comfortable and dish-washing and laundry easier and more effective. Most last a decade or more, but eventually, they fail, and when they do, they make showers nearly impossible and laundry and dish washing difficult.
The good news is that there are usually warning signs that a hot water heater is about to fail. Knowing these signs can help you, as a homeowner, get a replacement installed in time, before you find yourself with a headful of shampoo lather and nothing but cold water to rise it off with.
Since most hot water heaters are located in out-of-the way places, it is a good idea to periodically check the floor near the heater for leaks. A leak is the primary indication that a water heater needs to be replaced, but not every leak qualifies. Even a small leak in the tank is a sure sign that the tank is about to fail, but before you jump to conclusions, examine the heater installation carefully, checking all pipe connections to the device. Pipe leaks can be repaired, tank leaks cannot.
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In addition to causing water damage, a leak can also damage the heating controls on the heater. A leak can cause the pilot light to go out or the ignitor to fail on a gas heater. On an electric heater, a leak can cause a short which may cause a breaker to trip or do damage to the heating components.
Over time, the internal components and surfaces of water heaters will corrode. Though appliance manufacturers take steps to inhibit corrosion, it will happen sooner or later. If water comes out of the faucet or shower looking rusty, or if sediment is found in the bathtub, there is a good chance that the internal components in the heater’s tank are corroding. Rusty water will stain your clothing and basically make it impossible to get yourself clean. Additionally, if the parts in the tank are corroding, the tank itself is probably not far behind. If corrosion is found, it is time to replace your water heater.
Appliance manufacturers regularly improve their designs and incorporate better materials into everything they make. This makes appliances more energy efficient than models that are just a few years old.
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As a general guideline, you should replace a hot water heater when it’s 10 years old to receive the benefits of greater efficiency. Not only will you save on energy bills, but you’ll avoid the risk of a flood from a corroded heater – not to mention the domestic disaster of running out of hot water in the middle of a shower.
Are you having hot water problems in Michiana, or do you want to avoid them before they become problems? Home Comfort Experts has you covered with installation, repairs and maintenance for all your heating, cooling, plumbing and indoor air quality needs. Contact us.
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