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Water Heater Trouble: Repair or Replace?

water-heater-repair-replaceOf all the appliances and devices you use in your home on a daily basis, your water heater is likely the one you take the most for granted. Most people don’t give these systems a lot of thought—that is, until something goes wrong with it.

If your water heater springs a leak, in the best case scenario it will be something that can be easily fixed by one of our professional plumbers. Our Waterloo, IA water heater services include installation, repairs, and replacement—and sometimes, replacement is necessary. But how do you know when that time comes?

How Old Is Your Water Heater?

This is the first question you should ask when determining whether to replace your water heater or schedule a repair. Typically, most well-maintained water heaters last about 10 years, or a little longer. Any water heater older than this should probably be considered for replacement.

If you’re unsure of your water heater’s age, check its serial number, which is typically printed on the side of the appliance. This number actually starts with a letter, and whatever letter it is in the alphabet corresponds with the number of the month.

For example, F is the 6th letter in the alphabet, so represents the 6th month of the year—June. The next two numbers represent the year. So if it’s “05” it will be 2005. So a water heater system with the serial number “F051058483” would’ve been manufactured in June of 2005.

When Age Is Not a Factor

Let’s say that your water heater is less than a decade old, but either hasn’t been well maintained or is experiencing some distressing symptoms. Could you still need a replacement? In some cases, yes:

Have You Discovered Rusty Water? If you notice rusty water coming from your faucets, first check to see if it’s coming solely out of your hot water taps, or if it’s coming from your cold water taps as well. If both, then you have a problem with your home’s plumbing system that needs to be investigated. Otherwise, this is a sign that your water heater’s anode rod has corroded through and has now started impacting the tank. This is irreparable and requires a system replacement.

Are You Hearing Loud Rumbling? As your water heater ages, sediment builds up at the bottom of the tank. As your tank heats and reheats, this sediment hardens and can create a rumbling or banging sound as it travels around in your tank. This prevents your water heater from working as efficiently as it should, and also can create system damage.

Do You See Water Around the System? You likely have a small leak or fracture in the tank, and as the metal heats, it expands, causing leaks. Once the metal cools, the leaking may subside, but it’s still an issue that needs immediate repair. If leaks are also coming from the fittings or other connections to the tank, then you may have a water heater that’s broken down to the point that you need a system replacement.

Your comfort is our promise! Contact Dalton Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Inc. today to set up a service appointment.

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