Rusty water.

6 Signs It’s Time for a New Water Heater

How can you tell a water heater needs to be replaced?

Brown or Rusty Water

A common sign that your water heater has reached a point in time when replacement is needed is rust in the hot water. Rust in your hot water means that the inside of the tank is rusting which can lead to leaks. Brown tap or bath water is a sure sign that your water heater’s best days are behind it.

External Signs of Corrosion

Rust on inside your water heater is a big problem, but rust on the exterior of your tank is a sure sign that the unit is ready to spring a leak. If you notice that the water coming out of your faucets is rusty or if you notice rust around the pressure relief valve attached to the water heater, drain several buckets of water from the heater and check for signs of rust in the water. This way you'll be certain the rust is coming from the water heater and not your piping system.

Not Enough Hot Water

Nothing is worse than stepping into what should be a warm stream of water, only to have the icy chill of cold water jolt you awake first thing in the morning. Insufficient amounts of hot water often point to a water heater in need of replacement.

Unusual Noises

Sediment accumulates inside of the tanks of water heaters as they get older. Repeated sediment heating leads to the development of a tough texture or build-up that eats up a lot of energy. The sediment will take up room in the tank, meaning you have less hot water and the heater will be using more energy, spiking your energy bills. Inexplicable growling sounds caused by sediment are a sure sign it’s time to contact a professional for service.

How often should you flush your water heater?

You can increase the lifespan of your water heater by flushing out your tank to prevent any build-up of sediment. Most companies will suggest that you flush your water heater annually to prevent build-up from solidifying and causing more problems for your home and your energy bills.

Contact our team for assistance completing this task or follow these instructions to DIY the job yourself!

Strange Taste

Hot water that has a flavor that's redolent of metal may denote a heater that needs full replacement service as soon as possible. Faulty and aging hot water heaters don't only have flavors that remind people of metal, either. They frequently smell like metal as well.

Water Around the Base

One of the more obvious signs it may be time for a replacement is water around the base of your water heater. Even small leaks can quickly turn into a major headache. If you fail to replace the heater when it is leaking, you are putting yourself at risk of additional costs such as pests control for insects and rodents attracted to excess moisture or exorbitant costs of repairing the floors from water or mold damage.

When should I replace my water heater?

Your water heater should last up to 8-12 years, depending on care and maintenance. If your water heater is already within this age range, it's likely most cost-efficient to invest in a new unit rather than putting an expensive band-aid on a water heater that may require more repairs within a few months.

If you aren’t sure how old your water heater is, you can check the sticker from the manufacturer to find the installation date.

How old is my water heater?

If there isn’t an installation date listed, the next best thing to do is to use the serial number to decode the age of your water heater. Depending on your water heater’s make and model, your serial number could be listed in a few different formats. Use the manufacturer’s website (such as the Rheem water heater age calculator) to help you determine the age of your water heater, or you can follow these steps to manually figure out the age of your water heater:

American and A.O. Smith

Example 1: 1210F000046

Format: YYWW*******

YY = Year water heater was manufactured

WW = Week water heater was manufactured

This means that our water heater with the serial number of 1210F000046 was installed in the 10th week of 2012.

 

Example 2: S1318A002243

Format: *YYWW*******

YY = Year water heater was manufactured

WW = Week water heater was manufactured

This means that our water heater with the serial number of S1318A002243 was installed in the 18th week of 2013.

 

Example 3: 1836111786352

Format: YYWW*********

YY = Year water heater was manufactured

WW = Week water heater was manufactured

This means that our water heater with the serial number of 1836111786352 was installed in the 36th week of 2018.

American and A.O. Smith have 4 different serial codes, 3 of which were discontinued between 2004 and 2010. The three examples above are variations of the only style still in use. You can read the full breakdown of each code variation here.

Bradford White

Example serial number: MA45879225

Format: YM********

Y = Year water heater was manufactured

M = Month water heater was manufactured

After checking out the Bradford White website, we can determine that our water heater with the serial number of MA45879225 was installed in January of 1995/2015.

Check the manufacturer website for a complete list of the production year and month codes to properly decode your water heater’s age.

Rheem and Ruud

Example serial number: 1102K03456

Format: MMYY******

MM = Month water heater was manufactured

YY = Year water heater was manufactured

This means that our water heater with the serial number of 1102K03456 was installed in November of 2002.


Every water heater needs different care and may not have identical problems—if you've noticed any of the above issues with your water heater or if you need help determining the age of your water heater, call S & D Plumbing at (512) 648-4663 or contact our team online!

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