Knowing When To Let Go Of Your Water Heater

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Nothing lasts forever, especially when it comes to your home's appliances. However, many homeowners tend to use appliances like water heaters for far longer than their life expectancy allows. A water heater that's well past its prime is always at risk of sudden and sometimes catastrophic failure. To keep this from happening, it's important to know when it's time to replace your water heater with a newer model.

Aging Out

Old age is one of the most common reasons for a water heater replacement. As Joshua Palmer of Angie's List notes, a typical conventional water heater offers 8 to 12 years of reliable service, depending on whether it's electric or gas-fueled and how well the unit is maintained throughout its life.

There's a very good reason why you should consider replacing your water heater as it reaches the end of its lifespan. As it ages, its overall performance may decline due to overall wear and tear on various internal components. The longer you keep your water heater beyond its life expectancy, the less likely it'll be to keep up with your home's water heating demands.

If it's been 8 years or more since you've last replaced your water heater, then you should seriously consider purchasing a new water heater before your old one completely expires.

When the Repair Bills Start Piling Up

It's not just old age that makes holding onto your old water heater a non-starter. Keeping an old water heater around can also be an expensive venture. According to HomeAdvisor, the average homeowner can expect to spend anywhere from $202 to $772 for a water heater repair, depending on the diagnosis and the amount of work needed to complete the repairs.

There are plenty of things that can get out of whack or fail completely as your water heater nears the end of its life. For instance, the heating element or burner can malfunction or stop working completely. The thermostat can also fail over time and water valves can become stuck as they age.

It can also become rather expensive to actually run an older water heater. As HouseLogic's Joe Bousquin notes, newer water heaters are up to 20 percent more energy-efficient than their older counterparts. Simply switching your water heater could help you save hundreds of dollars on your utility costs throughout the life of the new unit.

When Rust and Corrosion Takes Over

Another reason to say "sayonara" to your old water heater involves the age-old scourge of rust and corrosion. It's quite common for an older water heater to suffer the following forms of corrosion:

  • Internal rust usually forms when the sacrificial anode in the water heater is eventually used up and not replaced. When the anode is no longer able to protect the water heater tank's exposed steel, rust and corrosion begins to build up on the now-vulnerable surfaces.
  • External rust and corrosion often forms around the water inlet and outlet fittings, as well as other exposed surfaces on the water heater tank. This usually occurs due to unaddressed water leaks and/or general neglect and poor maintenance. Water heaters can also rust along the bottom of the tank if there was a flood or a spill that was inadequately cleaned.

If left to its own devices, rust and corrosion can create a dangerous situation for your water heater and your home's occupants. For starters, combustion gases that would otherwise vent outdoors could easily seep back into your home's living spaces. Rust and corrosion also compromises the tank's structural integrity, making it weaker and more prone to leakage or even explosive failure.

If your water heater is looking a bit rustic, then you should give your old water heater a well-deserved send-off as soon as possible. For more information, contact a business such as C B Lucas Heating & Air Conditioning.