Your entire family relies on your water heater each and every day. Heated water is a modern luxury that is difficult to live without. When something goes wrong with your water heater, how do you know whether you should get it repaired or if it is time to replace it? With regular maintenance, water heaters can spend over a decade working efficiently to keep your home’s water warm. However, spending the time and money to repair a water heater that should be replaced can be better served on a new water heater.  At Culler Plumbing Services, we have your best interest at heart, which is why our Alton plumbing experts have built upon a previous post by our Troy Plumber, and come up with this helpful list of eight signs that your water heater needs to be replaced very soon:

#1 It’s 10 Years Old

When your water heater is 10 or more years old, it is nearing the end of its life and may no longer be worth repairing. Most water heaters have a life expectancy of approximately eight to 12 years (keep in mind that every water heater is different), with regular maintenance and upkeep. If your water heater is giving you trouble and it is more than 10 years old, then it is a good idea to look into replacing it. Not all water heaters give warning signs that they are failing and will one day just not work. If your water heater is running fine but is older than 15 years, it is wise to at least look into replacing your water heater and have a plan in place for when yours does finally fail. If you have no idea how old your water heater is, it is smart to weigh the cost of repair against the cost of replacement. If it is cheaper to replace, always replace.

#2 Leaking at the Base

If you have already tried to repair leaks by tightening or replacing the valves, and you still have a leak, then this is a big sign that your water heater needs to be replaced. The leak may be due to a fracture to the tank caused by the metal heating and expanding, leaving cracks.

#3 Water Heater Works Erratically

If your water heater is very temperamental- on again off again- there may be a serious problem. If your pilot light is on and your circuit breaker has not tripped, it may just be that the heater is simply nearing the end of its life. Rather than paying to get it repaired over and over again, save yourself the time and money by getting it replaced.

#4 Warm but Not Hot Water

Despite cranking your faucet handles all the way to hot and turning the thermostat on your water heater all the way up, if your water remains warm, not hot, it is time to replace. If the water doesn’t get warm at all, it is an indication that your hot water heater isn’t working at all, look at the other symptoms and debate whether to repair or replace. However, if the water is warm, it means that the hot water heater is working, just not well. It indicates that the heating element is burning out; at this point, it is usually cheaper to replace.

#5 Rust and Corrosion

If your tank has any rust or corrosion, the integrity of the water heater has been compromised, and it is sure to progress. Specific areas that you need to monitor for rust or corrosion are the temperature and pressure relief valves, and the inlet and outlet connections. If the water around the heater is rusty, it is an indication that the inside of your tank is rusting. This will eventually turn into a leak and need to be replaced.

#6 Noise

Your hot water heater should be quiet. A soft hum can be normal over time, but if it sounds like a thunderstorm in the tank, or there are cracks and popping sounds, it indicates that the heating element or the inside heater have mineral build-up.

#7 Metallic Taste or Smell

When you run the hot water, if you notice a metallic smell or taste, it indicates that the inside of your water heater is breaking down. If your water is gritty only when the hot water is running or you notice a rusty color when the hot water is running, it is the inside of your tank in your water. The corrosion will only continue, while it poisons your family. It is time to replace.

#8 Overuse

The 10-year life expectancy is a general rule for a typical household. However, if you have a family of six or more people or more than the normal number of regular house guests, the hot water heater may not last as long. If you have a large family and rent out a room occasionally and your water heater is eight years old, it may be time to replace.

No matter how well you care for your water heater, at some point, it will need to be replaced. The heater will eventually stop working. Before you decide to replace your water heater, you should always check to make sure that there aren’t any blown fuses or tripped breakers. Whether your water heater needs to be repaired or you have decided it is time to replace it, get it done right the first time by relying on the experts over at Culler Plumbing Services.