The hot water heater in your home is considered to be a critical appliance. If it lacks in functionality, it will not only impact your dishwasher and washing machine, it will detrimentally impact your ability to take a shower, engage in proper handwashing, and clean your home.

In some instances, an improper working hot water heater may just need to be repaired. In other instances, it may need to be completely replaced. In this guide, you will learn whether or not it is time to replace the appliance.

hot water heater
New Tankless Hot Water Heater System Source

How Old is the Hot Water Heater?

The first step to determining if you need a new hot water heater is to consider the age of the system. In most instances, the devices last anywhere from 15 years to 20 years. If your unit is this old or older, chances are, it is time for a replacement. While it is true that you may be able to replace components on the hot water tank to make it last longer, you will only be postponing the inevitable. It is much more cost-effective to go ahead and completely replace the entire system. Not only will you be saving yourself a lot of trouble, but you will also be saving yourself money.

How Much Hot Water is Coming Out of the System?

Have you noticed that the amount or volume of hot water coming out of your system has declined? Do you find yourself running your hot water to find that it has lost some of its warmth? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it is quite likely that your hot water heater is starting to experience decline and should be replaced as soon as possible.

Are You Seeing Corrosion on the Hot Water Heater?

Corrosion should not be observed on a hot water heater. If you so see corrosion, it usually means that the unit is very old. If this is present, it is best to bypass repairing the unit. You should completely repair the system. The corrosion usually starts on the inside of the tank and works itself out. In some instances, it could start on the outside. This usually only happens if there is a leak in the system. Either way, corrosion is NOT a good sign and the appliance is due for an immediate replacement.

What Color is the Water Coming Out of the Hot Water Heater?

Is the water coming out of your hot water heater clear? If so, there is hope. If you notice that there is a red tint to the water, this typically indicates that the inside of the hot water heater is actually rusting out. In this case, you should replace the system as soon as possible. In fact, any color water – apart from clear – is not a good sign. While red is the most common color, other colors may emerge, too. If the water is not clear, it is time to have your hot water heater replaced.

Is Rust Coming Out of the Tank?

If you observe rust coming from the water when you turn it on, you may have an issue. Check to see if it comes from both the cold water and the hot water. If it comes from both, the problem could be that your plumbing pipes have a problem. If you find that the rust is only coming from the hot water, it is time to replace your hot water heater. Rust may often resemble black or brown flakes. It may also look like tiny red pieces of metal. Remember, if the water does not run clear, there is a problem. If it is isolated to the hot water in your home, the culprit is likely the hot water heater.

Is Your Hot Water Heater Noisy?

The hot water heater in your home should always operate in silence. You may hear a faint humming noise if the water is running; otherwise, you should not hear any noise. If you hear clinging sounds, rumbling sounds, or any other unusual sounds coming from your hot water heater, it is time to call a plumber and schedule a hot water heater replacement. In most instances, the sounds that you are hearing is the sediment within the tank moving around and banging up against the insides of the tank.

Is the Hot Water Heater Leaking?

Do you have a leak in your hot water heater? If so, try to determine its exact location. If situated on the top of the appliance, you probably have a hose leak or maybe the hose has simply come unattached. This is a really easy fix. If the leak is coming from the bottom, it is likely that the metal has expanded and resulted in breaks along the bottom of the tank. This calls for an immediate replacement. If this issue is not dealt with properly and immediately, it could result in a massive leak that could cause severe damage in the home.

Does the Water Smell Bad?

When you turn on the water, do you notice an unusual smell? If yes, it could be that there is corrosion and bacteria accumulating in your hot water tank. Consumption and usage of water that smells bad – like sulfur – could be a danger to your family. It is critical that you replace the hot water tank immediately so that the quality of your water is enhanced. If at all possible, discolored or smelly water should never be consumed or used.

Is Your Hot Water Not Heating at All?

If you turn on your hot water, it could take a few seconds for the hot water to reach you; however, if there is no hot water at all, it is quite likely that the heating element in your hot water tank has gone bad. Depending on the age and general condition of your hot water heater, you may be able to simply replace the heating element and correct the problem. If your hot water heater is old and showing signs of other issues, it is best to completely replace the appliance. In doing so, you are saving yourself time, money, and potentially costly repairs in the future.

Does the Hot Water Take Too Long to Reheat?

If you have an electric hot water heater, you may find that it takes a long time for water to reheat in normal circumstances. In fact, electric units are said to take twice as long as gas units. If you discover that it is taking longer than normal for the water to reheat, you may be experiencing various problems. First, it could be an issue of sediment on the heating elements or it could be the heating elements completely malfunctioning. It could also be an issue with the thermostat. Now, all of these issues can be resolved with repair, but if your system is older, you are better off opting for a complete replacement.

Do you have Low Hot Water Pressure?

Are you having issues with the pressure of your hot water? In most cases, this occurs in older homes. It is often because galvanized piping that is too small is used. You will likely need to install modern, larger pipes. This will allow higher amounts of water to push through the pipes. If you do this and still have an issue, it could be that deposits of calcium, sediment, and even rust have accumulated in your hot water heater. These issues, too, can be resolved with repair and a clean-out; however, it is often better just to go for a complete replacement.

Do You Have No Hot Water with a Gas Unit?

If you have a gas hot water unit and suddenly find that you have no hot water, start by checking to make sure that the gas supplying the system is flowing and that the pilot is lit. If both of these check out, it could be an issue with the component known as the thermocouple. This may need to be cleaned or replaced. If you do this and there is still no hot water, it is time to have your appliance replaced.

Is the Water Too Hot in a Gas Unit?

If you have a gas-powered hot water heater and find that – suddenly – the hot water becomes way too hot, check your thermostat. Perhaps it is set too high. In some instances, it may be a case of the thermostat needing to be replaced. If your system is not old, this may take care of the problem. If you have an older system, it may be time for a hot water replacement.

Contact Us Today

If you are having problems with your hot water heater, contact us today at Reynolds Plumbing. We will come out and troubleshoot your problem. Once we have determined the problem, we will either make the necessary repairs or completely replace your hot water heater. We offer the best prices and the highest-quality parts, components, and customer service. Contact us today to learn more by calling: 765-966-0994