Have you ever been the last in line for a shower and had to brave the cold water just to wash your hair? Sometimes it’s unavoidable. It can happen due to too many overnight guests or a family member known for extra long showers. But what happens when your water heater stops working efficiently on a daily basis? It might be time to replace your water heater.
Whether you’re a new homeowner or have been in your home for a while, you should be aware of potential issues with your water heater. This article will help you decide when it’s time for an upgrade.
Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Water Heater
Your water heater is old. Most electric water heaters last an average of 10 years, and gas heaters have a shorter lifespan of about eight years. You can determine the age of your water heater by looking at the serial number found on the manufacturer’s sticker. The first two numbers after the letter indicate the year it was manufactured. Think about replacing an old water heater to avoid other issues down the road.
Noticeable rust— It isn’t a good sign if you notice rusty water coming from your faucets or rusting outside the heater near the valve. When the steel starts to deteriorate, it increases your risk of a damaging water leak.
The water heater is noisy— If you often hear rumbling and loud noises from your tank, your water heater is no longer efficient. Loud noises signify sediment buildup (which should be flushed out every year.) If your heater continues to make noise after flushing, the potential for leaks increases.
Leaking water— A pool of water around your heater could signify loose fittings or a fracture in the tank. If you rule out loose fittings, it’s time for a replacement.
Not enough heat— If your water heater isn’t heating up enough, it’s time for some detective work. First, check to see if there is a problem with the thermostat or heating element. If you’re still having trouble with hot water, it might mean your tank isn’t big enough for your family’s current needs. Replacing an underperforming water heater is worth the cost for something that is a big part of our everyday life!
Replacing Your Water Heater
If you decide it’s time for a new water heater, make sure you get a tank that fits your family’s needs and your home’s configurations. You also must decide whether to install a tankless or traditional water heater.
Know your water needs— 40-50 gallon heaters are the most common. However, if you have a big family or live in a large home, you’ll want a tank with a larger capacity. Water heaters last a long time, so think ahead. If you can imagine your family growing in the future, why not make sure your home is prepared? Additionally, look for a water heater with a high recovery rate. The recovery rate is how many gallons your tank can heat in an hour. You won’t have to wait all day for the water to heat up again after everyone has their morning shower.
Know your home— Upgrading to a bigger water heater is only possible if you have room for it. Before you start shopping around, measure the dimensions of the space you have available. You should also consider the age of your home and the plumbing.
Traditional water heaters store and preheat 30-50 gallons of water in an actual tank. This preheated water will be ready in the tank for your needs. During the day, the tank refills and reheats. These heaters can be electric or gas.
- The initial cost of a traditional water heater is lower, but you’ll face higher utility bills in the long run.
- The tank is large and takes up a lot of space in your home.
- When the tank runs out of hot water, you’ll need to wait for the tank to refill and reheat.
- Traditional water heaters have a shorter lifespan and must be replaced every ten years or so.
Tankless water heaters don’t store water in a tank. Instead, they utilize a heat source to warm up or cool water on demand. They provide 2-3 gallons of hot water per minute and can also run on electricity or gas.
- Tankless water heaters have a higher initial cost and are usually more complicated to install. However, in the long run, you will save money on energy and will see lower utility bills.
- This type of heater is much smaller and takes up little space in your home. You can install a tankless heater in many areas of the house, including outside.
- The lifespan of a tankless heater is almost double that of a traditional water heater. Once installed, it could last 20+ years.
Careful maintenance will prolong your current heater’s efficiency and lifespan. However, if you live in your home for a long time, you will end up replacing your water heater. Take care not to overlook serious problems with your heater so you can avoid costly water damage and high energy bills. If your situation allows, consider energy-efficient and eco-friendly options. In Colorado, you may even be eligible for a rebate when you buy energy-efficient appliances.
If you have any further questions, I’m here to help you navigate all aspects of homeownership.
I'm Lauren Haug! I'm a teacher-turned-real estate agent, and I teach people how to build wealth through real estate in Northern Colorado.
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