Normally, you can expect water heaters to last between 8 and 12 years before they need to be replaced. Even with proper maintenance, it’s inevitable for the internal parts of the heater to become corroded or coated in a buildup of minerals. When this happens, the efficiency of the water heater declines until it decides to give up altogether, leaving you with no hot water.

Fortunately, there are some signs to watch out for indicating that a replacement for your failing heater is warranted. Spotting any of these signs can save you a lot of time and money, while rescuing you from the nasty surprise of suddenly losing hot water in your home.

Find Out How Old Your Unit Is 

It’s easy to determine the age of your unit if you bought it yourself. It gets difficult, however, for others who moved into a home already equipped with a water heater. Luckily, determining its age is simple enough.

Firstly, you’ll need to look for the manufacturer’s sticker located on the upper portion of your water heater. It will contain a serial number indicating when the heater was made. The serial number will start with a letter, followed by several numbers.

To read the date, look at the letter. The position of the letter in the alphabet will tell you the month: for example, F would be June, as it’s the sixth month. The next two digits indicate the year, so F05 would be June 2005.

Experts recommend that water heaters over 10 years old should be replaced as soon as possible, especially if your heater is located in a spot that can cause damage to your house in the event of leaks.

Rusty Water 

Seeing rusty water rushing from your water heater isn’t always indicative of the need for replacement. If you notice that the rusty water is coming only from the hot tap, replacing your water heater should be in order. However, rusty water coming from both the hot and cold taps indicate bigger problems with your pipes, something that a professional plumber should look at.

Strange Sounds 

As your water heater ages, sediment and minerals build up on the bottom of the tank. Repeatedly heating this sediment and mineral build-up gradually causes it to harden. You will then hear rumbling and banging noises from your water heater once the sediment has hardened. Once this happens, it is a good sign that your heater has reached the end of its useful life and is no longer working efficiently.

Any of these signs can be a prelude to your water heater failing completely. To avoid any costly repair bills and disruption, you should call a professional plumber to come and check your water heater as soon as you notice any of these signs. With their help, you can find the best replacement unit and have it installed properly.

Sources
4 Signs Your Water Heater is About to Fail, Angieslist.com
The Signs and Symptoms of a Bad Water Heater, HomeDepot.com