Both tank and tankless water heaters tend to fail eventually due to usage strain, damage or normal wear and tear. In fact, even with proper annual maintenance, a typical water heaters lasts anywhere from 8 to 10 years. Fortunately, a failing hot water heater will typically show signs of failure. Some of the common water heater failure signs include:
The Unit’s Age
The average lifespan of a typical water heater is about 10 years. This means that if you know the age of your tank, you can replace it before it breaks and avoid potentially expensive water damage. What’s more, a new hot water heater will likely be more energy efficient than your old water heater, meaning it will lower your heating costs. You can tell the age of your unit by looking at the date code on the manufacturer sticker/tag. Alternatively, you can request the unit’s manufacturer to provide you with this information.
Rusty, Brown Hot Water
If the water coming from your water tank is rusty but the water coming from the cold side is clean and crisp, you can sure that your hot water system is going to fail soon due to corrosion. This is because corrosion will eat through your hot water tank or hot water pipes, leading to a water leak. To determine whether the corrosion is in the tank or the piping, leave your hot water tap running for a while. If the rusty, brown water does not stop coming out of the tap, then the corrosion is likely in your hot water tank, not the piping. On the other than, if the rusty water stops coming out from the hot water tap after a while, then the corrosion is in the piping, not the tank.
If you water heater is making a strange noise such as loud pops, banging or rumbling, it may be a sign of sediment buildup on the bottom of the tank. If this is the case, you can expect your heater to become energy inefficient, meaning it will use more electricity and take longer to heat water, increasing your heating bills. In turn, this will cause your water heater to wear out faster. Similarly, if your tankless water heater is making strange noises, it means it is not operating at it should.
Water around the Water Heater
This is probably the most clear sign that you heater will fail soon. However, before you replace your water, ensure the water leak is not coming from the connections or fittings to the tanks. While at it, ensure the pressure/temperature overflow pipe is dry, too. If the leak is coming from the tank, you should replace the tank as soon as possible because metal expands when heated, meaning the leak is likely to escalate quickly. At this point, it is worth noting that water leaks can easily damage the components of a tankless hot water heater, meaning you should address them as quickly as possible.
On average, water heaters, including water heaters that provide hot water on demand, have a 10-year lifespan. Some of the signs that your water heater will fail soon include the unit’s age, water around the water heater, strange noises and rusty hot water.