Your water heater has served you well these past few years, but it won't last forever. Sooner or later you'll be faced with the prospect of replacing your current water heater with a newer and more energy-efficient model. If you can't bring yourself to say goodbye to your old water heater, here are a few good reasons why you should give it the farewell it deserves.
Your Water Heater is Nearing the End Of Its Life
A well-maintained water heater is more likely to age out rather than break down due to neglect or premature component failure. Depending on the overall design and location of the unit, the level of maintenance it receives, and your home's water quality, you can expect your water heater to last for 8 to 12 years.
If it's been a decade since you've last replaced your water heater, then it's likely time to shop for and install its replacement. You won't get much out of holding onto your current water heater beyond its expected lifespan other than expensive repair bills, higher energy consumption, and poorer water quality.
You Start Seeing Rust-Colored Water
Rust is a common nemesis of the average water heater, so it's no surprise to see manufacturers go out of their way to keep rust at bay. One major tool used in the fight against rust and corrosion is the sacrificial anode, a rod consisting of a steel core surrounded by magnesium or aluminum. The anode corrodes away to protect the steel water heater tank. Once that protection's gone, however, the tank becomes vulnerable to severe rust.
As rust spreads throughout the water heater, rust fragments can give the water within a reddish, sometimes muddy appearance. This can make it difficult or even impossible to wash clothes, clean dishes, and perform other household tasks that require a steady supply of hot water.
Keep in mind that your home's own plumbing system could also be the culprit when it comes to rust-colored water. It's a good idea to have your plumber thoroughly examine both the water heater and your pipes in order to pinpoint the actual cause.
It's Taking Longer for Your Water to Heat Up
Sluggish performance is yet another reason to consider replacing your current water heater. Aging components can slow down the amount of time it takes for your water to heat up. Excessive long-term buildup of calcium and other mineral deposits can also result in long wait times for hot water.
If it takes more than a few minutes to get reliable hot water from your water heater, then you should consider replacing it with a newer and more reliable unit.
The Repairs Are Becoming More Frequent and More Expensive
It's no secret that older water heaters require a greater level of care and maintenance to stay in good shape. But as your water heater ages, it'll need those essential repairs more often. Those repairs will also become more expensive as time goes on.
The average water heater repair could cost you anywhere from $204 to $814, according to recent statistics from HomeAdvisor. Instead of letting repair bills escalate to the cost of a brand-new water heater, you're usually better off replacing your old water heater.
Your Water Heater Has Become an Energy Hog
Not only are older water heaters typically less efficient than their newer counterparts, but water heaters can lose their efficiency as they age. Cumulative wear and tear on essential components can rob a water heater of its efficiency over time, causing it to consume more electricity to maintain the same level of performance.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, your water heater accounts for 14 to 18 percent of your energy bill, making it the second-largest energy expense in your home. So when you hold on to your old water heater, there's a good chance you're sending money down the drain.