As a homeowner, keeping a close eye on your home's major appliances to ensure they work efficiently and safely is essential. The hot water heater is one of the most commonly overlooked but essential appliances. If your aging water heater is over 8-12 years old, it's wise to monitor it for signs that it's time for a replacement.

when to replace water heater

Some indications that your water heater needs to be replaced include the following:

Rust-colored water

If you notice that the hot water from your faucets is rusty or reddish-brown, it may indicate a problem with your water heater tank. However, if rust appears in your cold water, it is likely an issue with your pipes. This is dangerous and needs replacement.

Leaks or drips

Any signs of leaking or dripping around the base of your water heater or connections likely mean water leaks from the tank or valves. This can lead to unsafe water damage, so replacement is necessary.

Leaks in your water heater tank are often caused by expansions in the metal during the heating cycles of its lifespan. Over time, these expansions may result in fractures and leaks, particularly at the height of each heating cycle.

While some leaks may be minor enough to address with a repair, it's often only delaying the inevitable replacement of your water heater. It's crucial to take action as soon as you notice any signs of a leak, including puddles or dampness around your water heater or corrosion on the tank's exterior.

Strange noises

If you hear clanging, popping, or rumbling sounds from your water heater, it could indicate a problem with the heating elements or other internal components. These noises are not typical and suggest it's time to replace your water heater.

Additionally, sediment buildup in your water heater's tank can cause banging or rumbling sounds. The hardened sediment can hit the inside of the tank, making loud noises. As the sediment grows thicker, it can wear down your water heater over time.

Unusual noises are not typical and suggest it's time to replace your water heater.

Inefficient or slow hot water

If you notice it's taking longer to get warm water or hot showers don't last as long, your water heater may have a broken heating element. In addition, the tank's insulation could be damaged. In either case, a replacement will be necessary to restore efficient and sufficient hot water.

water heater replacement

What do I need to know before replacing my water heater?

We all love having hot water right away, whether for a nice hot shower at the end of a long day, washing up after working in the yard, or preparing a bowl of spaghetti for your family dinner. But what do you do when your water heater stops working? What should you consider before buying a new one?If your existing water heater is ancient or unreliable and requires frequent repairs, it's likely time to purchase a new unit. A water heater can be a significant investment, and you want to get good value for your money. You will need it to meet your needs, save on utility costs, and last for a long time.

There are several things to consider when choosing a new water heater. Identifying your household's needs and knowing your options will help you select the perfect unit for your home. Read through these helpful tips before you buy.

What are your hot water needs?

Do you have a large family? How many showers, tubs, and sinks does your home have? Is your family involved in sports or other activities that require showering more often? Will you use appliances such as a dishwasher, washing machine, or other things that need hot water?

If you seem to be running out of hot water quickly, it could be due to several factors. Learn more from our blog: "Why Am I Running Out of Hot Water Faster Than Before?"

water heaters

To determine that capacity, estimate how much hot water your household uses during the busiest hour of an average day. This should be close to your water heater's "first-hour rating" (FHR) printed on each heater's yellow Energy Guide label. The FHR tells you how many gallons of hot water a heater can produce during an hour of high usage, which is not the same as how many gallons the tank can hold. If you are having trouble figuring out the suitable capacity for your home, an expert plumber can help.

replace your water heater

What type of water heater should you choose?Today, various water heaters are available, ranging from tankless to traditional. You have options regarding how you power your water heater replacement, too. Fuels range from gas and electric to propane and solar power. Heat Pump water heaters are becoming more widely used and can offer a great option as well. Researching will help you settle on a unit that fits your needs.

Because flame heats more quickly than a heating element, gas and oil units typically have higher FHRs. Make sure gas water heaters have sealed combustion chambers and are well-ventilated.

Electric Water Heaters

An electric water heater is lightweight, quiet, and offers the highest efficiency of any tank water heater. However, it would be best if you considered the price of electricity in your community compared to other options to make sure the investment makes sense for you.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters offer a nice compact option when space in your home is at a premium. They can be either gas-burning or electric, but gas tanks are known to last longer. Either way, tankless water heaters can be very efficient because they only heat water as needed, potentially saving you a lot of money throughout the year. If you want to learn more about tankless systems, read our blog, "Tankless Water Heaters: Are they worth the Hype?"

What type of water heater will be the most efficient?

A new water heater can help you cut down on utility expenses. The energy factor number (EF), representing the percentage of energy turned into hot water by that specific model, is a great way to identify an efficient unit. In most cases, the higher the number, the more efficient the unit and the better cost savings for you.

However, you should factor in the cost of the energy the heater uses to estimate the actual operating cost. For instance, an electric heater with an EF of 0.8 may cost more than a gas unit with an EF of 0.6 due to a regionally higher price of electricity than gas.

What sort of maintenance will the unit require?

Did you know that regular maintenance can help a good hot water heater? Forgetting annual maintenance can reduce the life of your unit! Your friends at Lorenz Plumbing Heating & Air can help you get the best return on your investment by scheduling regular maintenance, such as draining the tank once a year, replacing rusted or corroded elements or valves (like the pressure relief valve), and checking for obstructions or exposed wiring. Having a busted and leaking hot water heater is no fun and can damage flooring and walls and lead to mold, which can be even more costly to repair.

Expert Care for Your Hot Water Heater

Your water heater is often a forgotten appliance in your home. However, giving it the attention it needs is critical to ensure it functions efficiently and lasts as long as possible. But how long do hot water heaters last? The answer largely depends on how well you take care of it.

One crucial step towards maintaining your water heater is scheduling an annual professional inspection. This ensures that potential issues are caught early, and your unit gives you the most efficient performance possible. Additionally, if you ever notice that your hot water isn't working correctly, it's wise to call a professional to determine whether your water heater needs repair or replacement.

expert care for water heaters

If your water heater isn't working as well as it used to, is old, or you find yourself paying for frequent repairs, it might be time to upgrade. We know there are many options to choose from, and that can feel overwhelming. If you are unsure which new hot water heater would be best for you, your friends at Lorenz Plumbing Heating & Air can help you navigate the possibilities and find the best fit for your home and pocketbook.

To learn more about hot water heater repair or replacement, or to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, call us today at 417-863-1122 and start enjoying the comfort of reliable hot water in your home tomorrow!

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