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How To Tell if a Water Heater Is on Its Last Legs

Hot water is essential during the winter, especially when guests are in town. In addition to causing cold showers, a broken water heater raises energy bills and can make cooking even more time-consuming. Before the cold months arrive, it's important to understand all the warning signs of a faulty heater so that one can fix issues before the holiday season.

What if Warm Water Is Still Available?issues

A malfunctioning water heater does not necessarily break all at once. Just because hot water is available sometimes does not mean the heater is working. Temperature fluctuations typically occur weeks before the water heater stops producing any heat. 

If the hot water runs out after a ten-minute shower, there is a problem. This is likely due to the build-up of mineral deposits. A water heater technician will need to extricate sediment that accumulates around the heating components.





Leaks Are a Common Warning Sign

Water heater leaks are not always obvious. Most problematic leaks are from small cracks and corrosion that cause damage to the heater over time. Homeowners should also check for water around surrounding appliances to ensure it's not from the furnace.

If the leak comes from the top of the water heater tank, this may be a problem with the pipes. Sometimes connections become loose and can be fixed with a standard pipe wrench. If the side of the tank is leaking, this is likely due to a damaged valve. A trained technician will need to examine both bottom and side leaks. Water heater replacement may be necessary. 

Geriatric Water Heaters: When Is It Time for a Replacement?

Water heaters last approximately ten years. After that, they need consistent repairs to keep energy use efficient. 

Water heaters affect personal finances in a variety of ways. The more energy it takes for a hot water tank to generate heat, the more likely utility bills will rise. If repairs are needed every month, this will add to the overall price of a faulty heater.

Average wear and tear signs include higher utility bills, leaks, and cooler water temperatures. If the heating elements are old, these can be separately replaced rather than getting rid of the entire water heater. The motors and valves are also easily repairable. 

Water heater maintenance is recommended regardless of the type of water heater. One should inspect even new heaters that are only two or three years old annually. This helps prolong the heater's life while keeping monthly energy bills to a minimum. The water heater will need to work harder for large households to provide enough hot water for everyone. 

Replacing an old water heater may save money if the heater is causing strange noises or murky water. Foul odor is usually a sign that the water heater is on its last legs. There are several models to choose from when picking the right replacement, and tankless water heaters can last up to twenty years. A qualified professional can help assess whether water heater replacement or repair is the best option.

About Affordable Plumbing, Heating & Air

Affordable Plumbing, Heating & Air offers upfront pricing with zero overtime charges for water heater repair during the holidays. To learn more about their VIP membership inspections, call Affordable Plumbing, Heating & Air in Fairhope, AL.