You go to turn on the shower and it happens: There’s NO warm water. Even with the best built homes, eventually the water heater will need to be replaced. Most water heaters can last upwards of 12-15 years, but there are a few telltale signs to look for to see if it’s time to replace your water heater now.
You don’t know how old your heater is.
If you can’t recall when you’ve replaced it last, then chances are very good it may be time. Even if the water heater is still working, if you think it has been more than 10 years, you’ll likely want to at least get it inspected. As with any large appliance in the home, the older it gets, the higher the chance of it failing abruptly and potentially causes electrical fires.
You hear noises or see leaks.
In many cases, you may start hearing a rattling or knocking noise well before the water heater ever stops working. But any unusual sounds, leaks or rusting near the top of the tank are all signs that trouble is lurking.
Good to Know
For water heaters that are usually made of steel, rust is an indicator that leaks are imminent.
You see a rusty water valve.
Any sign of rust or mold on your water heater is not a good thing. For water heaters that are usually made of steel, rust is an indicator that leaks are imminent. This may not point to a water heater problem directly but could also signify that something is wrong with the connecting pipes leading into the water heater.
You notice it takes a long time for water to heat up.
This could be as innocuous as a water heater being too small for the level of water output you need. Or, it could mean that your water heater’s heating element has gone bad. You’ll want to take note of how long it takes for water to heat up, if it heats up at all and if it only happens when more than one faucet is on.
These are just a few things to look out for that might indicate that your water heater is on the fritz. It’s always best practice to have your water heater flushed at least once a year to make sure any build up of particles is flushed out. Plus, during this routine maintenance, a trained plumbing contractor would also be able to tell you if there is anything you should be aware of.