When to Fix or Replace Your Tanked Water Heater
If you are running into problems with your home’s tanked water heater, you may be wondering how to know when it is time to repair versus replace. There are just a few components to your hot water heater, and a problem with any of these can be easily repaired. However, if your hot water heater is over 10 years old or has a more serious issue, it is probably time to find a replacement. Fortunately, modern hot water heaters are much more efficient and cost effective. Learn more about the signs of a hot water heater problem and how to determine whether you should repair or replace your tanked hot water heater.
Signs of a Water Heater Problem
There are a few common warning signs to watch out for when it comes to a broken tanked water heater. First, if your water heater is leaking, this is a sure sign of a major problem. Check not only for obvious leaks but also for mold, puddles, or a damp floor. Second, if the faucets in your home produce no hot water, only a little hot water, or change in temperature unpredictably, this is an indication of an issue. However, a lack of hot water can also occur if you lose power, so be sure to check your power before checking the water heater.
Another common problem is water that is either rusty or smells foul, which can make it difficult for you to wash and clean yourself, your clothes, your dishes, etc. If your water is muddy, this could indicate a sediment buildup in your hot water heater, and a metallic taste is also indicative of an issue. In addition, a rattling or popping sound in your hot water heater is a sign of a problem. Finally, if your hot water tap expels water in spurts or with weak pressure, you could have a clog in your hot water heater.
Knowing When To Repair
When it comes to repairing versus replacing your tanked water heater, the decision is generally based upon where the problem lies and how old the water heater is. There are a few major areas of a tanked hot water heater and associated problems that can be repaired fairly cheaply:
- Pilot Light: The pilot light can go out, causing the hot water heater to fail. This can be indicated by a lack of hot water entirely, and it can be relit easily.
- Circuit Breaker: If your tanked water heater is electric, the circuit breaker can trip. You can simply reset the circuit breaker to repair.
- Heating Element: The heating element (or burner) can also fail and potentially cause leaks. In gas hot water heaters, you can tell that the aluminum rod is malfunctioning by a rotten egg smell.
- Thermostat: First, check that your thermostat is set correctly. If the thermostat is broken, your water heater will not heat consistently, and this component will need to be replaced.
- Valve: The valve in your tanked water heater can become stuck or loose. If you see a leak but do not have leaky pipes, it is likely that your valve needs to be tightened or replaced.
- Tank: While most issues with the tank lead to replacement, the tank of your water heater can accumulate a buildup of minerals and/or hard-water scale. This sediment can be cleaned out by draining the tank.
- Dip Tube: Finally, if your water heater is not heating well enough, this may also indicate an issue with your dip tube. The dip tube can be replaced if broken.
An issue with any of these components is fairly easily repaired by a professional plumber. In addition, if your tanked water heater is fairly new, it is generally advisable to repair the heater rather than to replace it. In the case of very old water heaters, replacement may be preferable even if the problem can be repaired.
Knowing When To Replace
There are a few major reasons why you should replace your tanked water heater rather than repairing it. First, if your water heater begins to leak due to corrosion, it will need to be replaced. This corrosion is caused by the interaction of steel and minerals, and it is not repairable. Second, your tanked water heater should also be replaced if it is very old or inefficient. Most tanked water heaters last between 8 and 12 years, and newer models can be up to 20% more efficient, which saves you up to $700 each year. Furthermore, these newer tanked water heaters are more resistant to corrosion and will likely last you much longer, saving you even more.
Whether your tanked water heater needs repair or replacement, you can count on Albuquerque Plumbing, Heating & Cooling to get the job done right. With our 100% satisfaction guarantee and vast experience in the plumbing industry, our company ensures the best service possible. Contact Albuquerque Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today to inquire about our tanked water heater services.