Ask any plumber, and they will tell you that the overwhelming majority of the water heaters they replace are reactive rather than proactive, and what that means is the replacement usually comes on the heels of some incredibly inconvenient malfunction that has resulted in a lack of hot water in the home and/or pooling water underneath the water heater itself.
Knowing that having no hot water is a massive inconvenience, it’s a miracle more homeowners don’t look into getting new water heaters sooner than they do. Thankfully, there are a few things you can look for to help you determine whether the time has come to replace your water heater proactively rather than waiting for something to stop working completely.
The best way to proactively replace a water heater is to effectively keep it on a schedule. While it is possible for water heaters to last 15 years or more, most water heaters ten years or older likely are due for a replacement. Sediment simply builds up over time, and metal is susceptible to erosion, so at some point it’s just time to update a heater for something newer.
If you don’t know exactly how old your water heater is, there is a serial number that can help you find out. The first letter denotes the month, so if there’s a letter “E,” the fifth letter in the alphabet, that means the water heater was manufactured in the fifth month of the year, or May in this case. The next two digits after the letter are the year it was built, so if your serial number starts with E11, it was built in May of 2011. Anything over ten years old may need to be replaced.
The aforementioned sediment that builds up in a water heater over time is something that actually can create a banging or rumbling noise over time. As the sediment builds up and is heated (and reheated), it hardens. That hardened sediment is what causes the noise, which indicates that the water heater is no longer as efficient and now requires more gas or electricity to heat the water. It also creates more wear and tear on the metal, corroding it more quickly than it would otherwise.
If your water heater is leaking and leaving a little pool of water underneath the appliance, it almost certainly means the time has come for new water heater installation. Those pools of water mean the water heater is leaking when the heated water expands inside the inner tank. Often, the leaks will stop when the water cools again, but that doesn’t mean the issue has corrected itself. There are other sources of leaks, too, any of which could mean a complete water heater replacement.
If you ever find yourself in need of water heater replacement or repair, give us a call here at GPS Plumbing. Hopefully we can replace that old water heater proactively so you never have to experience a home with no hot water!