From dishwashing to showers or baths, cooking to handwashing, the majority of households strongly rely on water heaters. This high demand placed on our hot water systems eventually leads to the heater reaching its lifespan, just like in case of any other home appliance. From strain caused by frequent use to leakage or just old age, water heaters can give in due to a variety of reasons. In the following, we are showing you the three most commons signs of a hot water system that needs to be replaced.

  1. Your water heater is simply too old.

Regardless of the brand you use, these household appliances eventually reach their end after an average of eight to ten years. Even if your hot water system seems to work fine, after a decade, replacement is generally recommended. For obvious safety and convenience reasons, we suggest purchasing a new appliance before your old heater shows symptoms of leaking, failure or rusting. Now, if you’ve lived in your current home for over eight years, the recommended time of replacement is probably closer than you think. In case you are not the homeowner and therefore are unsure about the age of your heater, checking the serial number will tell you the required details. The manufacturer’s sticker on the tank is a 10-digit combination of numbers and letters, but reading it is easier than you’d expect at first. The number following the first letter shows the last two numbers of the year: for instance, “07” means 2007. In case your heater is over a decade old, we recommend consulting with a local plumber about replacing your hot water system. You might want to purchase and install a new appliance on your own, however, speaking to a pro could prevent you from choosing the wrong type or not knowing how to dispose of your old heater.

  1. Your heater fails to provide you with hot water.

Lukewarm or cold water coming from the hot water tap is more than just a minor annoyance, it can easily indicate your hot water system is about to give in. A heater struggling to heat water to desired levels may root in a variety of issues including an incorrectly adjusted thermostat, a broken heating element, using the wrong type of appliance, or a hot water system that’s about to fail completely. Luckily, in case of the first two problems, troubleshooting might work perfectly – just adjust the thermostat or replace the broken element and you’re good to go. However, in case of an old or incorrectly chosen heater, only switching to a new appliance will do the trick. If you’re unsure what is causing the problem, we always recommend hiring a professional to solve the issue risk-free.

  1. Knock-knock, it’s your heater!

Loud noises coming from the tank is generally considered abnormal and might be a sign of a failing heater. Rumbling and popping noises from your hot water system are common signs of an old water heater, simply because as the appliance ages, its elements will start to struggle with emitting hot water. If you live in a household with a particularly high hot water usage, this phenomenon may occur even before the average lifespan of a heater. The potential causes of a noisy system include mineral build-up in the tank, cracks, and leakage. In case of sediment build-up, flushing the tank, which we recommend repeating once a year as part of an effective maintenance routine, might do the trick. This way you might be able to successfully flush out the build-up – you should keep in mind, however, that hiring a professional for this job instead of going for DIY methods is highly recommended for safety reasons.

Even so, flushing may bring your heater relief, in case of serious amounts of sediment in the tank, cracks, a leaking system or irreversibly damaged heating elements, such troubleshooting is certainly not enough. These are often not even obvious at first glance, they only become suspicious when loud noises return after the tank had been flushed. A rumbling or creaking appliance is an absolute tell-tale sign of a failing hot water system which should be replaced as soon as possible.

Although regular maintenance checks, using hot water sparingly, investing in a water softener and flushing the heater tank annually can all prolong your system’s life, unfortunately, you cannot prevent an eventual failure. There’s no need to worry nonetheless – consulting with your trusted plumbing service will allow you to choose the correct type and size of heater that could serve you well for another decade.