Tips & Resources
Turning on the faucet and having clean, safe hot and cold water is something most of us take for granted. If you are experiencing any of these issues, it might be time to consider a replacement for your water heater before there is a real problem.
Sadly, water heaters don’t last forever. Generally, once they reach 10+ years old, you should be considering a replacement before the worst happens. If you are unsure of the age of your water heater, look for the serial number which includes a date code. Check with the manufacturer to help you decipher the code and determine the date it was made.
Rusty water from the hot water faucet is an indication that the water heater is rusting on the inside and may soon develop a leak. It is possible that the rust is coming from galvanized pipes. A simple test is to drain water from the tank into a bucket. Do this a few times. If by the third bucketful the water is still rusty, it is the water heater and not the pipes.
Over time, sediment builds up in the bottom of the tank and with repeated heating that sediment begins to harden. The two outcomes of this are: 1) the water heater becomes less efficient, requiring more energy to produce the same amount of hot water, and 2) the extra effort causes greater wear and tear on the system, including tiny holes. If you notice even small leaks around your water heater, it is probably time to replace it.
A metallic smell or taste is another sign that the water heater is breaking down and should be replaced.
As the water heats, the metal in the tank expands and after many years tiny holes or fractures can develop allowing water to leak. Even just the detection of moisture or a small amount of water can indicate a leak. It is important, however, to check for other sources, such as the fittings or connections to the tank.