Is is time for a new water heater?
Homeowners will often wonder when it is time for a new water heater. The simple answer is to replace it if it starts leaking. But there are other signs that may indicate that the time is right to replace your existing water heater. Now we’re talking about the most common type of water heaters here…the standard tank water heater found in the majority of homes. Tankless water heaters will be addressed in another article.
Most tank style water heaters will last, on average, about 10-12 years. Some factors that may influence the tank’s life include incoming water pressure, mineral content in the supply water, as well as routine maintenance (such as flushing the tank periodically to remove deposits).
I’ve come across water heaters that are 20 years old (although rare) and still functioning. And I’ve seen water heaters develop leaks after only 5 or 6 years of service.
If the tank has developed a leak you will need to get a new water heater. There is no fix for a ruptured tank other than replacing the water heater itself. However, if you notice that water is escaping from the pressure relief valve, this indicates another problem. It could be as simple as a faulty relief valve, which can easily be replaced in most cases. Or it could indicate the incoming water pressure is too high, and thus the valve is doing what it is supposed to do. That is, relieve the pressure building up in the tank. If the incoming water pressure is too high, the likely cause is the home’s main water pressure regulator is at fault. Household water pressure is generally around 65 PSI. Pressure relief valves on water heaters are usually designed to open at 100 PSI to prevent the tank from rupturing.
The main pressure regulator in the home can sometimes be adjusted (this is best left to a pro). But oftentimes it will have to be replaced. A water pressure test device is needed to check your home’s water pressure and for adjustment, if required.
Other signs that your water heater is nearing the end of its life: It “rumbles” when it is heating the water. This is usually caused by sediment and mineral buildup inside the tank. Thermal expansion will create the rumbling sound. The tank has likely lost some capacity due to the buildup inside. Also, if your hot water is rusty, this is a good indication that it’s time to replace the water heater.
At Basset Heating & Air Conditioning, we offer free estimates on new water heaters. Call us at 719-392-0032 to schedule your free replacement quote. Serving Colorado Springs and the Fountain Valley areas.