I am a firm believer that, after learning my lesson in life again and again, it is better to be proactive rather than reactive– and my plumbing is no exception. Overcoming an emergency plumbing issue is a lot more challenging than planning for an inevitable event. Think of it like this– knowing the mileage of your vehicle and its maintenance history (or lack thereof) means you have a better idea of the potential problems that could arise and gives you the power to plan accordingly. Is it worth it to replace your engine, or is it more financially sound to replace your car instead? Who doesn’t like to make informed financial decisions in advance? Oh, the joys of adulthood… Your water heater, while not as intense of an investment as a vehicle, is still something you can be proactive about. This way, you’ll avoid finding yourself in an emergency situation such as scrambling around to get your hot water back vs making a sound, informed decision for your household. Here are my five signs that it’s time to replace your water heater!
Signs of Corrosion
Your tank style water heater, whether it is electric or gas, is a steel tank that is lined with glass on the inside. When that glass starts to crack, water is able to access the metal tank and begin corroding through the metal which eventually causes a leak or a rupture. Corrosion around the water heater is a sure sign that the inside lining of the water heater has been compromised and is allowing water through the outside, decorative jacket. A small leak in a water heater, overtime, can turn into a huge flood. If you see signs of corrosion on your water heater, then it is time to give the pros at Robins Plumbing a call to go over your replacement options!
Signs of Rust
Signs of rust on your water heater are also a clear indication, like corrosion, that your water heater lining has been compromised and has a slow leak. Occasionally, the rust signs are from a leak on the plumbing going to the water heater and not the water heater itself; either way, your water heater should be looked at and the leaks repaired or the water heater replaced.
Every water heater has an average lifespan, and while that average lifespan isn’t a certainty, the law of averages exists for a good reason. There is the occasional miracle water heater that lasts longer than expected. But, more often than not unfortunately, water heaters in the Phoenix area last less than the average lifespan and usually less than the initial warranty. There are a lot of variables that can set the lifespan of a water heater including brand quality, water conditions and the overall maintenance performed on the water heater. The average lifespan of electric and gas tank water heaters vary slightly. If you have an electric water heater, then it has been our experience over the last 22 years that the average lifespan you can expect is 6-8 years. Gas tank style water heaters we’ve noticed often last a few years longer than their electric relatives often providing reliable service for 7-9 years.
Fun Fact – Why do gas water heaters last longer than electric ones? Gas water heaters heat from the bottom of the tank which constantly stirs up the sediment at the bottom of the tank making it harder for sediment to store there. Electric water heaters heat with elements that are on the side of the tank. Those elements build up with sediment and that sediment breaks off and builds up at the bottom of the tank.
Your water heater should be flushed and drained on an annual basis to keep it running as efficiently as possible and to maximize the lifespan of your water heater. If your water heater is approaching that lifespan we spoke about earlier and you’ve never maintained it, then make sure to keep a close look out– you’re very likely to be at the lower end of that lifespan.
Not Enough Hot Water
Not having enough hot water isn’t always an indicator that it is time for a new water heater, but it can be a factor to consider. A lack of hot water can be an indication that a water heater needs to be repaired or can even mean that you have a hot water slab leak. Normally, however, it’s just a symptom of a water heater that hasn’t been maintained and is at the end of its lifespan– this is especially common with electric tank style models. The sediment that builds at the bottom of the water heater will reduce the total volume over time. If you started with a 50 gallon tank and it is 6 years old and has never been maintained, there can easily be an excess of 6” of sediment at the bottom of the tank making it operate more like a 40 gallon tank, rather than at its full capacity.
If you’re considering a new water heater, then don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with one of our qualified technicians and learn about all of the options that are available to you! From hybrid water heaters, tankless water heaters, and tank style units that are more energy efficient than the model you currently have.
Services in Phoenix & Beyond
When you’ve found yourself in need of plumbing services in the Phoenix, Glendale, Scottsdale, or Chandler area, you can trust Robins Plumbing to provide you with prompt and expert care, contact our team today! In addition to our toilet services, we also offer a variety of residential and commercial plumbing services, including: drain cleaning, water heater repair and replacement, sewer camera inspection and locating, backflow prevention, commercial and residential jetting, water treatments, and more. Visit our reviews online to see what others have to say about our local plumbing company!