When to Replace Your Water Heater

The best way to increase the life of your water heater and other home water system parts is by inspecting them yearly. With proper maintenance, a hot water heater typically lasts 8 to 12 years. If not properly taken care of, you may find yourself replacing it sooner.

Take these steps to see if you need to call a plumbing expert to replace your water heater:

  1. Look for corrosion around the small pipes coming out of the top of the water heater. This is an indicator that your water system could potentially be compromised.
  2. If you have a gas water heater, inspect the flue piping. Look for discoloration around the top of the tank. This is an indicator of venting, drafting or gas pressure issues that cause improper combustion in the burn chamber.
  3. Listen. Do you hear noises coming from the heater? Noises are an indicator of scale buildup in the bottom of the tank that causes a popcorn popping sound while heating. Scale buildup can occur with any type of water – city, individual well, or community well – and will cause hot spots on the glass-lined metal tank, leading to premature water heater failure.

If you notice any of these issues, it may be time to replace your water heater. Call Kobella Plumbing Heating Cooling today and one of our technicians will guide you through a discussion of your options.

All water heater manufacturers recommend flushing your water heater annually to rid the tank of sediment and scale. So even if you don’t notice any problems, you should still schedule an annual maintenance call.

Choosing the Right Water Heater for Your Home

So, you’ve determined you need a new water heater. Now you’ll need to decide the best type, fuel source and size for your home.

What size water heater do I need?

There are three main types of water heaters: storage tank, tankless, and point-of-use. Storage tanks are the most common type of water heater. Water is heated and stored in the tank until needed for your shower or after dinner dishwashing. These types of water heaters are classified by the amount of water they hold in gallons, making tank size one of the most important considerations when selecting your new water heater. The chart below may serve as a starting point for how big your hot water tank should be.

Family Size Recommended Water Heater Capacity
1-2 40
3-4 50-80
5+ 80

Should I consider a tankless water heater?

Instead of storing hot water, tankless water heaters only heat water when you need it. The water heats up as it passes through a series of coils in the unit. The main benefits of choosing a tankless water heater over a storage tank are:

  • Continuous hot water; and
  • Energy efficiency, or lower energy bills.

Tankless water heaters provide a limited flow of hot water, so they are not ideal for families who need hot water at more than three to four points of their home simultaneously. In other words, if your teenager wants a hot shower after football practice at the same time you want to wash a load of dirty towels, and run the dishwasher, this is probably not the best option for you.

Have more questions about choosing a water heater? Call Kobella today – our plumbing technicians can walk you through the selection process.

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