Hot water in your home is essential, and when the water heater stops working the way it is supposed to, it may be time to consider replacing it with a new water heater or upgrading to a better system. There are some things you may notice that can indicate it is time to replace that old water heater, and with luck, you may see them before the old unit fails completely.
Trouble Keeping Up
One common problem that you may notice with your water heater is that the water is taking longer to heat up. Recovery time after the water in the water heater is used may start to slow down as the unit ages. While sometimes the heating elements in the water heater are the issues, replacing those elements is not always possible if there is a lot of rust or corrosion in the tank.
Having a plumber come and check the water heater, and the elements is an excellent place to start if the water does not seem to be staying hot. However, sometimes the plumber will pull out the elements and find damage to the tank that can not be fixed. Most water heaters only last about twenty years, so if your water heater is older than that, you may want to consider a replacement before the water heater fails.
Leaking or Seeping
One of the common problems you may notice with an older water heater is water leaking from the unit's base. The water means that there is a crack or rust hole in the tank that is allowing the water to escape. In most cases, by the time you notice the leak, the damage has already been done to the insulation inside the water heater case and potentially to the floor under the water heater.
Leaking or even some minor seeping can be hard to see, but once it starts, the problem will worsen, and the leak will eventually become catastrophic. Leaking of any kind means it is time to have a plumber come and assess where the water is coming from and then replacing the water heater if the tank is leaking.
If the leak is coming from a pipe or fitting, the plumber can often fix it, but if it is coming from the tank, it is often not repairable. The tank can not hold pressure with a hole in it, the leaking water will cause an increase in your water bill, and potentially an increase in your electric bill as the heater tried to keep up heating water that is continually filling the tank and the hot water leaks out of the system.