You usually want to wait as long as possible before spending the money to replace large and expensive appliances. Home equipment such as refrigerators, ranges, or even air conditioning systems can last for a long time. With proper maintenance, you may be able to keep these items going for decades, and they're often only worth replacing when repairs become too burdensome.
However, water heaters are somewhat unique among the equipment in your home. Unlike your air conditioning system or furnace, repair may eventually no longer be an option for your water heater. Even worse, failure can sometimes lead to more expensive damage. Keep reading to learn why preemptively replacing an aging water heater may be a good idea.
How Do Water Heaters Fail?
Most conventional, tank-style water heaters are simple devices with only a few components. If your home uses natural gas, propane, or oil, your water heater will have a burner, thermostat, and additional control and safety equipment. Electric water heaters are usually more straightforward, with only two thermostats and two resistive heating elements.
The good news is that nearly all of these parts are easily replaceable. Problems with burners or heating elements are typically easy to address, and these failures won't force you to replace your water heater. Unfortunately, one component is irreplaceable: the tank. Once the tank fails, your only option is to replace your water heater.
Since most water heaters use steel tanks, the typical failure mode is internal corrosion. A glass liner and sacrificial anode rod help to slow this process, but most tanks will eventually wear down and leak. Your home's water chemistry and your maintenance habits (replacing the anode rod in particular) can affect how long it will take for your water heater to fail.
Why Shouldn't You Wait for Total Failure?
A failed air conditioner or furnace can leave you sweating or shivering, but it usually won't cause any additional damage to your home. On the other hand, a corroded water heater tank may lead to some relatively severe leaks. Tanks rarely fail so severely that they create flooded rooms, but they can cause water damage to flooring or nearby appliances.
The typical life expectancy for a conventional water heater is a little over ten years. You don't need to replace your water heater just because it's a decade old, but you should begin to monitor it more closely. Once your water heater moves beyond this point, the likelihood of failure will increase with each passing year.
One common symptom of a failing water heater is discolored hot water. This discoloration comes from rust as the tank's internal liner breaks down. Once you notice this symptom, you should consider replacing your water heater before major leaks develop. Likewise, upgrading to a newer and more efficient model may be a good idea if your unit is already well beyond its expected lifespan.
For more information on a water heater replacement, contact a professional near you.Share
11 July 2023
I know it can be difficult to make yourself think about getting your furnace running when the skies are sunny and the temperatures are hovering around 90, but it is the best time for you to think about your heating system. Getting ahead of the winter preparation game will help to save on the cost of the repairs because the need for furnace maintenance is usually at a low during the fall season. This blog will show you what you can do to prepare your furnace for winter and when you should hire a professional HVAC technician to take care of it for you.