Take a moment to think about the appliances you use most throughout your home. Your microwave, oven, or dishwasher may come to mind, but chances are your water heater is the appliance you use most. For this reason, it's necessary that you ensure your home's water heater is in good operating condition. However, if you haven't taken time to properly maintain your water heater, then it may not be running as well as it should. Replace your water heater if any of these issues are present:
Rust Particles Pollute Your Hot Water Supply
You use your hot water supply for bathing, washing dishes, and doing laundry. For this reason, it's necessary that your hot water supply remains free of contaminants that could dry your skin, contaminate your utensils, or stain your clothing. However, your water tank is made of metal—and when metal is exposed to water for a prolonged period of time, it will rust.
To counteract rust formation throughout your water tank, the interior walls of your tank are lined with a coating that provides moderate protection from corrosive minerals. Additionally, your water tank has an anode rod that attracts and neutralizes corrosive minerals that flow into your tank.
As your anode rod neutralizes corrosive minerals, it disintegrates. This is because your anode rod consists of a noble metal that is more susceptible to corrosion than the lining of your tank. When your entire anode rod disintegrates, the corrosive minerals in your water supply will begin to attack the lining of your tank.
By the time your anode rod disintegrates and minerals begin damaging the lining of your tank, the damage to the lining of your tank will be irreversible. Although you can replace your anode rod to minimize the corrosion damage to your tank (which you should do every couple years as a form of preventative maintenance), the damaged sections of your tank will continue to corrode and release rust particles into your hot water supply.
Your Hot Water Supply Doesn't Last Long Enough
Your water heater used to provide a sufficient amount of hot water to your home. However, you're now noticing that your water supply runs out right when you're about to put conditioner in your hair or start a second load of laundry. Typically, this issue is blamed on increased hot water demand throughout your home—but the real culprit may be a damaged heating element or burner assembly.
If you have an electric water heater, then your heating elements are located inside your water tank. If you haven't drained your water tank on a regular basis, then sediment and minerals in your water supply can collect at the bottom of your tank and encase your lower heating element. When this happens, your lower heating element will overheat since it won't be making complete contact with water.
If you have a gas water heater, then your burner assembly can sustain corrosion damage when moisture collects inside your combustion chamber. A dripping temperature and pressure relief valve, overflowing drain basin, or condensation that collects under your water tank can pose a threat to your burner assembly. When your burner assembly sustains heavy corrosion damage, it won't be able to ignite the entire supply of gas to your water heater.
In both of these situations, replacement is the better option.
Your Repair Costs Are Getting Out Of Hand
A good rule of thumb for determining whether or not its time to replace a household appliance is the 50% rule. The 50% rule states that you should only spend half the original cost of the appliance on repairs throughout the appliance's lifetime. If your water heater's repair costs are nearing or exceeding half of its original cost, then it's time to replace it.
However, replacing your water heater is not an easy task—especially if the installation of your new water heater requires a new gas line or electrical outlet. For this reason, if you decide to replace your water heater, you should contact a professional plumber or HVAC contractor to perform the removal and installation for you. By doing so, you can ensure that your new water heater is installed according to local building codes. For more information, contact a specialist in person or via their website, such as http://robertbair.com.