Water heaters generally last from 10 to 15 years. Once this time is up, some people think they automatically need to replace their heater. But while this gives you a pretty good idea of when to replace it, that span is still pretty long. Some people agree that if it's still working, keep it around. Others disagree. Here are a few things to think about that will help you make this decision.
- How is your water quality? If you have hard or poor quality water, the lifespan of your water heater will decrease because of sediment build-up.
- Is your current heater energy efficient? When your energy bills skyrocket and you've already done everything you can to lower them, it may be time to replace your water heater. According to consumerreports.org, your water heater makes up about 20% of your home's energy cost. If your heater is not working at full capacity, it will jack up your energy costs. Newer models of water heaters are more energy efficient than older models, even when they are working at full capacity, so if energy conservation is an issue for you, choose a newer model that provides that energy efficiency you are looking for.
- Does your water heater have the capacity you need? Maybe you bought the heater when you were living on your own, before the spouse and kids came along. Or maybe you thought you'd use less water than you do only to realize later that you made a mistake. If you find that your water heater isn't keeping up with the needs of your household, it's time for an upgrade.
- Is your tank rusty or corroding? Once your water heater has started rusting, there's no turning back. It's not a problem that can be fixed by simply replacing a part. If your tank hasn't started leaking yet, just wait. Once it starts to rust, it's better to replace it now before you have a serious leak.
- Is your water heater leaking? Leaks are extremely difficult to fix on a water heater. More often than not, it's because something is wrong internally, and these problems are rarely fixable. If this happens, just be sure to immediately turn off both the water and the power to your water heater and call a professional plumber to come and stop the leak until you can replace the water heater.
Replacing your water heater can be costly, but if you are having these issues then it will be worth it in the long run. Just be sure to do your homework and to contact an HVAC service that can help you with any questions you may have.