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How to Know if You Need a New Water Heater

person adjusting a water heater

May 26, 2023

Is your hot water starting to look, feel or smell different? If so, it may be time for a water heater replacement. Water heaters have a limited life span, so at some point, you will need to replace your hot water tank. Review the warning signs that it is time for a replacement with our list below. 

10 Signs You Need a New Water Heater

With so many potential causes of water issues, it can be hard to tell when to get a new water heater. You can feel pretty confident you’re looking at needing a water heater replacement if you notice any of the following issues.

1. Your Water Heater Is More Than 10 Years Old

Water heaters tend to last around a decade — sometimes shorter or longer — before needing to be replaced. The life span of your water heater can vary depending on the type of water heater you have, how often it is used, the quality of your water, and the frequency of maintenance. If you can’t remember the last time you replaced your water heater, that’s a clue you’re probably in need of a new water heater. 

You can also check your water heater’s serial number to determine its age. Typically, the serial number can be found on the upper part of the water heater. The serial number should start with a single capital letter followed by a collection of numbers. The starting letter represents the month the water heater was manufactured. “A” represents January, and the rest of the alphabet continues until the letter “L,” which represents December. 

The two numbers following the initial letter represent the year. So, if your serial number begins with “C12,” your water heater would have been manufactured in March 2012. This method of determining your water heater’s age via serial number works for most water heaters. Still, you can always verify on the manufacturer’s website that this method works for your specific water heater.

2. You Have Discolored Water

One of the most obvious or noticeable indicators that you need a water heater replacement is tinted or discolored water. If you turn on the tap and water with a red or dirty yellow tint comes out, you’re likely in need of a replacement. When water is discolored, it can indicate rusting in your water heater.

This can happen in traditional-style water heaters when the anode rod becomes corroded. The anode rod uses electrolysis to attract any corrosive particles, leaving you with clean and clear water. However, once the rod can no longer do its job, the corrosive particles will remain in your water, and you’ll notice a change in color when you turn on the faucet.

3. Your Water Temperature Is Unstable

Has your water started to take a long time to heat up, or does your hot water not last as long as it used to? When your water heater is nearing the end of its life, it will become harder for your water to heat up and stay hot. Your declining hot water supply may start out small but will continue to worsen over time. 

4. You Have No Hot Water

Eventually, your short bursts of hot water will run out, and you’ll be left with no hot water at all. Sometimes, no hot water can mean there is an issue with your circuit breaker, but often, it’s an indicator that your water heater has reached the end of its service life. Since you probably don’t want to take cold showers every day, you’ll want to reach out to a local hot water tank provider for a replacement.

How to Know if You Need a New Water Heater

5. Your Water Has an Odor or Odd Taste

When your water smells or tastes weird, it may be a sign that your water heater is breaking down and sediment is making its way through your water supply. This odd smell or taste is described as metallic and will be noticeable when you attempt to use your hot water. 

6. There Is Sediment in Your Water Heater

When your anode rod can no longer collect the corrosive particles to itself, this sediment will begin to settle on the bottom of your hot water tank. This buildup can begin to destroy your tank’s lining and lead to even more corrosion. If you begin to notice dirty or sandy textured water, this can be a sign your water heater has become corroded.

7. Your Water Heater Makes Strange Noises

When your water heater is in good standing, you should not hear any banging, rumbling, cracking, popping or other loud noises. As sediment builds or collects on your water heater floor, it will begin to harden, which can cause these loud noises when your heater is trying to work. Any unusual noise coming from your water heater is worth investigating. 

8. Your Water Heater Needs Frequent Repairs

If your water heater is in need of constant repairs, it’s probably time you look for a full replacement. Even if your heater has not reached its expected lifetime, it may be time for a replacement. Hard water, constant use, and infrequent or insufficient maintenance can all lead to a shorter water heater’s operational life span. If you’re constantly calling technicians for repairs, it will also be more cost-effective to replace your water heater rather than continuously pay repair fees. 

9. Your Water Heater Is Leaking

Corroded water heaters will begin to leak, and water will start to pool around your water tank. Even without corrosion, your water tank can fracture and leak. As your metal tank consistently contracts and expands due to the heat, the tank may fracture or even burst. Without prompt replacement, this leaking can even lead to water damage in your home

10. You Use Your Water Heater Frequently

For homes with larger families, your water heater is likely to handle more daily use, which can lead to needing an early replacement. So, before you dismiss the possibility of needing a replacement, consider how often your household uses warm or hot water. 

How to Know if You Need a New Water Heater

Water Heater Replacement Near You

When you first notice the signs of a broken or old water heater, call the trusted professionals at Enduric Plumbing. We have extensive experience servicing the greater Winston-Salem, North Carolina, area and offer various plumbing services, including water heater replacements, repairs, relocations, and installation. 

A low-functioning water heater can negatively impact your daily routine, from showering and cooking to washing dishes and doing laundry. Reach out to us today for a professional water heater replacement from our full-service plumbing contractors.