If you own a high-quality water heater and flush it regularly, you’ll get many years out of it before you’ll need to replace it. However, once your water heater approaches the 10-year mark, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for any signs that the unit might be nearing the end of its lifespan.
Below, we’ll cover some of the “red flags” that you should watch out for.
Rust and Corrosion on the Tank
Not all the time, but most of the time, if corrosion has taken place on the interior or exterior of your water heater, it’s time to let that unit retire. Areas where the tank has corroded are particularly susceptible to leaks. Extensive corrosion also weakens your water heater’s structural integrity. It’s best to replace the unit before a significant plumbing problem occurs.
Dirty, Rust-colored Water
If dirty, reddish-brown water comes out of whenever you try to use hot water, this is a pretty big indication that corrosion is occurring inside your water heater. In some cases, you might only need a new anode rod, which is a fairly common water heater repair. However, if you own an aging water heater (one that’s 8 to 12 years old), then a new anode rod isn’t likely to fix the corrosion issue.
Leaking from the Tank
If you spy water on or around your brand new water heater, don’t panic. It might simply be condensation, which is perfectly normal and not a problem. However, actual leaks in the tank can result when corrosion weakens the tank walls. The water-heating process can worsen leaks because of the way it makes the tank’s metal expand and contract.
Inadequate Hot Water Supply
If your water heater is struggling more and more to meet your household’s hot water demands, the unit might be on its way out. Over time, tank-type water heaters tend to lose capacity as they fill up with sediment. At the same time, sediment can cover the heating element, compounding the inadequate water supply issue by slowing down the water-heating process.