Tankless Water Heaters
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Water heater replacement
When to replace your water heater.
Like any appliance, water heaters break down over time and need to be replaced. No one enjoys taking a cold shower, so ideally, you'd like to be able to replace your water heater before it completely stops working. If you wait too long, it could lead to a much larger problem. Such as, large leaks and water damage to your home. So how do you know when it's time to replace your water heater?
The older the water heater, the more likely it is to break down. As a general rule, a tank style water heater will last, on average, 8 to 12 years. If your water heater is pushing the 10-year mark, there's a good chance it's time to replace the unit, and you may want to consider a Rinnai tankless model.
With proper maintenance, and a little luck, you may be able to nearly double the lifespan of your water heater. However, sometimes, even with the best of care, a water heater will need to be replaced after only a few years.
#2. Rust and Corrosion
Check your tank for rust or corrosion. Most hot water tanks are made out of steel and will eventually rust. You may even notice rust in your hot water when it's drawn from the tap.
If you find rust or corrosion by the temperature and pressure relief valve, and/or the water inlet and outlet connections, it's a good indication that your tank is rusting and needs to be replaced.
Unfortunately, there's not a way to repair a tank once it starts to rust and corrode. If your water heater has not started to leak yet, it'll only be a matter of time before it does.
Where your water heater is located within your home may determine your next step. Leaking water can cause thousands of dollars of damage to your home. Your best option may be to replace your water right away to prevent unnecessary expenses and damage.
However, if your tank is located in a garage, you may choose to wait until it begins to leak. The water damage will likely be minimal, and on a solid cement floor it should be relatively easy to clean.
#3. Drain does not drain
Over time, the sediment builds and settles inside the bottom of the water heater's tank. If you have a gas water heater, you may have noticed a popping sound when the burner ignites. This is an indication that there's sediment build-up.
However, regardless of the fuel source, sediment build-up is a problem for both electric and gas water heaters. As it accumulates, it can clog the drain valve, and over time, it will even break down the interior of the steel tank.
Flushing your water heater once a year will remove the sediment and help prevent damage to the tank, as well as extend the life of your water heater. But if you're not regularly flushing your tank, the sediment will build-up and eventually cause some serious problems.
#4. Water tank is leaking
A leak from the hot water tank is usually caused by an internal problem and is rarely repairable.
If you find the leak is coming from the tank itself, you'll most likely need to replace your water heater.
To prevent further water damage, turn OFF both the water and power to the water heater.
#5. Water is lukewarm or cold
Something is clearly wrong if you find your water isn't as hot as it once was, or worse, it isn't hot at all. There may be a problem with the heating element, or the electric thermostat. It's not uncommon for these parts to fail entirely or simply malfunction over time.
Possible causes are the heating element, a broken dip tube, or your regulator. It could also be something as simple as your hot water requirements have increased. If this is the case, your water heater may be working fine, but isn't able to meet the household demand for hot water. In which case, you may want to consider purchasing a tankless heater that will be able to keep up with demands of your family.