You don’t need to wait until there’s a leak to replace hot water heaters. There are signs that the unit is about to fail that you should watch out for.
If your water heater is leaking or not heating up, you may be able to repair it rather than replace it. Regular maintenance will extend the life of your water heater. Some repairs, such as replacing a pressure-relief valve or heating element are pretty simple. Follow our tips to troubleshoot your gas or electric water heater issues and learn how long a water heater should last.
Repair or Replace
Based on the manufacturer’s suggested service life, the life expectancy of a water heater is about 8 to 12 years. That varies with the location and design of the unit, quality of installation, maintenance schedule and water quality.
If your water heater is more than 10 years old, leaks around the base of the tank, and / or works erratically or not at all, it’s probably time for replacement. However, before you begin the replacement process, make sure that an electrical problem, such as a blown fuse or tripped breaker, is not the reason for the unit’s failure.
Troubleshooting Common Issues
Perhaps the most common problem connected with a water heater is water that isn’t as hot as you want it to be. This is usually caused by a faulty thermostat or a defective heating element. Check the following when your water is not hot enough:
Electric water heater
- Make sure that the power is connected. Reset the thermostat.
- Flush the heater to remove sediment from the tank.
- Insulate the hot water pipes.
- Replace the heating element or thermostat.