Water Heater issues? Knowing When To Repair or Replace

water heaterChances are, you’ll need to replace a water heater at some point during the ownership of a home. Service life expectancy of residential water heaters runs between 8 and 12 years. In locales where hard water is common, some may fail even sooner. Knowing when you need to replace a water heater, versus when it requires repair or routine maintenance, is important to get as much use out of the unit as possible. Here are some typical scenarios you may encounter.

Issue: Water heater performance is poor and operating costs are rising. Over time, minerals naturally present in the municipal water (chiefly calcium carbonate) form a layer of grainy sediment in the bottom of the water heater tank. This insulates water in the tank from heat of the burner flame. The result is increasingly higher natural gas consumption plus other symptoms like longer recovery times waiting for the tank to heat more water.

Remedy: Have the heater tank flushed once or twice a year to remove mineral deposits before they harden and cannot be removed. This can restore lost energy efficiency and heating performance. It also extends the life of the heater as mineral deposits accelerate tank corrosion.

Issue: Dribbling or oozing from valve on side or top of water heater.

Remedy: This is probably a leaky temperature and pressure relief (TPR) valve. It’s a common replaceable component and you don’t have to buy a new water heater. A qualified plumber can verify the cause and perform a straightforward replacement with a new valve.

Issue: Tank leaking. Frequently this shows up as unexplained pools of water around the heater. You may hear the sizzling sound of water dripping on the hot burner, as well.

Remedy: This usually indicates a corroded, leaky tank. It’s a warning sign that must not be ignored as the tank could rupture at any time and cause extensive water damage. Water heater tanks aren’t repairable so the only safe option is to replace the water heater.

For more about when to replace a water heater to prevent home water damage, contact Rytech, Inc.

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