Your water heater is an important component of your day-to-day life since it enables you to take hot showers, wash dishes, and do laundry whenever you need hot water. On the other hand, just like any other piece of home equipment, it has a finite lifespan and will, at some point, need to be replaced. There are a few warning signals that your water heater is getting close to the end of its usable life and that it’s time to start planning for a new unit.
At George Salet Plumbing, we’ve had 40 years of experience with water heater replacements and repairs of all types. In that time, we’ve learned a lot about what can be fixed and what simply can’t. Here are some of the top signs you need to replace your water heater.
Water Isn’t Coming Out at the Right Temperature
A properly working water heater should produce hot water at the temperature set by the thermostat on the device. If you’re suddenly getting cold or lukewarm water when you used to have hot water, there is a problem.
If you alter your thermostat and don’t see any changes, chances are that your heating element is burned out. This is an indicator that you require a new unit to restore your hot water supply.
There’s also a chance that the water heater may be producing lukewarm water due to an increase in hot water demand at your home. Assess your hot water demand, and if it is greater than the capacity of your water heater, replace it with a larger one.
Signs of Rust and Corrosion
Rust and corrosion, particularly inside the water tank, indicate that the equipment has reached the end of its useful life. If you discover rust in the water flowing from your taps or shower, this is a strong indication that your water heater has worn out.
It’s important not to ignore persistent brown or orange water, because it could be a sign or a cause of bigger problems down the line. Rust from the tank has the potential to ruin other household appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines. Clogging will also harm your plumbing system, particularly the piping system.
A Noisy Water Tank
After a while, your hot water heater may begin to make noises, especially when heating the water. If you frequently hear banging and rumbling from the water heater, this is a sign that the equipment is likely worn out and is nearing the end of its useful life.
Noise is mainly caused by dirt accumulating around the heater. The noise is usually produced by the sediment when it heats up. The silt corrodes the heating element and forms a layer on it, making it harder for the system to function properly. Regular water heater maintenance can help minimize this damage and prolong the life of your unit, but if you’re already hearing noises, it’s time to call the pros to check it out.
Water Has a Metallic Aroma and/or Taste
You should notice a difference in flavor and scent if you drink water straight from the tap. If you notice that your tank water has a metallic taste and smell, it is a sign that your water heater is failing. This is mostly because of internal rusting. Another possibility is that the hot water tank has rusted or the heating element has worn away. Because the metal elements in the water are detrimental to your health, you should have the water heater replaced right away.
The Unit is Reaching the End of its Lifespan
Most tank-type water heaters have a lifespan of about 9-12 years, while tankless water heaters can last for 15-20 years. While some fail sooner and some last longer, this span is about average with proper maintenance. If your water heater is giving you trouble and is in this age range, it is likely going to be more economical to replace it than keep trying to fix it.
Another important thing to consider is San Francisco’s recent decision to phase out natural gas water heaters by 2027. If your unit fails after that time, you’ll be required to switch to an electric model instead—and so will almost 2 million other homeowners in the Bay Area. So, if you want to get out ahead of the big switch, it may be wise to go ahead and start planning for a new model sooner rather than later!
Should I Replace My Water Heater Before it Fails?
At George Salet Plumbing, we recommend taking a proactive approach to water heater replacement. While we know homeowners would rather spend their money on just about anything else, a malfunctioning water heater can lead to more than just inconvenience. You could risk significant property damage by pushing an old water heater beyond its limits!
That said, we stand by our reputation as San Francisco’s skilled, clean, and honest plumbers. We’ll never push you to replace your appliance if the time isn’t right. So, call us today for an evaluation. We’ll provide a thorough investigation and diagnosis of your hot water issues so you can make the right decision for your home!
San Francisco’s Trusted Water Heater Replacement & Installation Services
Since 1979, George Salet Plumbing has been the trusted name in water heater services in the San Francisco Bay Area. We’ll put our deep qualifications and knowledge to work for you to ensure that your new water heater is perfectly sized, installed, and calibrated to your family’s needs. We’ve got the expertise and commitment to quality to ensure a worry-free installation process every time! To schedule service in San Francisco, call (415) 234-0733, or call (650) 557-3883 for the Peninsula. Or, conveniently schedule service online anytime!