Is it really a bad thing to have an old water heater?
Believe me. I KNOW there’s no sin in getting old. Nothing to be frustrated by, embarrassed about, or dismissive of. Aging is a fact of life.
If everything on earth ages, there is certainly no surprise that our appliances “mature” and break down just like our bodies do.
Water heaters are no different.
If you asked me, “Is it really a bad thing to have an old water heater?” I would say, “No.”
But then I would add that the older it is, the sooner you’re going to have to invest in a new one.
It is what it is!
Do you ever think about how nice it is that we don’t have to heat huge pots of water on the stove and haul them to a laundry kettle or a big sink?
Aren’t you glad that we don’t have to heat water over a fire and then pour it into a big communal bathtub where we’d clean ourselves in the public arena of the kitchen?
Hot water heaters are modern conveniences that we’ve come to appreciate over the years. (And if it makes you feel any better, your hot water heater isn’t really that old if you’re not heating your water on a wood stove!)
Hot water heaters have come a long way
In 1868, shortly after the Civil War, a painter named Benjamin Waddy Maughan figured out a way to heat water. He patented the idea, but because it relied on natural gas to heat the water and since he had not designed a system for venting the gas fumes, the system wasn’t feasible for homes. Maughan, however, had gotten the idea started.
Twenty-one years after Maughan, an electrical engineer of Norwegian descent, Edwin Ruud, found Maughan’s design and started making improvements. He created a cast-iron appliance with safety valves and introduced it to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where it took off and became a common appliance in homes. He patented his device in 1897.
Since then, water heaters have gotten more efficient and more convenient. Today, almost every home in America has a hot water heater that feeds the washing machine, the dishwasher, the showers, the sinks, and the bathtub.
The life cycle of a water heater
So we come back to the original question: “Is it really a bad thing to have an old water heater?”
The answer is, no, it’s not, but you must know that nothing lasts forever.
The average lifespan of a standard tank water heater is between 8 and 12 years.
The Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Star suggest replacing your water heater after ten years.
One study found that more than 27 million households had water heaters more than a decade old meaning that they will have to be replaced in the next few years.
How do you know how old your water heater is?
Most water heaters come from the company with a label that indicates the date of production. If you have a model without a bigger label, check the serial number. All manufacturers put the date in the serial number, although they don’t all do it in the same format.
A little research on the internet can tell you how the company that made your water heater indicates the date of manufacture in the serial number.
How do you know if your old water heater needs to be replaced?
If you’ve noticed any of these problems, it’s an indication that your old water heater is failing:
· Your water isn’t hot enough. (If your water heater is set to 130 degrees and it feels lukewarm, something is wrong.)
· Your water has a slight tint of red or brown color.
· You get hot water, but it doesn’t last long enough.
· You see water pooling at the base of your water tank.
· You notice corrosion or rust on your water heater.
What makes a water heater go bad?
In addition to the wear and tear of normal aging, a few other factors might cause your water heater problems:
Do you know if the water pressure is at the right setting? Too much water pressure can negatively affect the lifespan of your water heater.
How about your “sacrificial” anode rods? Have you had it changed yearly?
When was the last time your water heater was flushed? Do you have hard water? Is the size of your water heater accurately calculated for size of your home and the number of places you need hot water? Is it vented correctly?
Sounds funny, but if you want to be in hot water, we can help.
If it’s time to replace your old water heater, we can take care of you, whether you want a tankless unit or a standard unit.
Give ServiceOne a call about any plumbing need you have and know that we are qualified professionals who care about your comfort.