Avoiding Plumbing Problems

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Should You Replace Your Water Heater?

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A failing water heater leads to one major inconvenience — cold showers. More than likely, this is a scenario you want to avoid. Learn how to spot the signs of a failing water heater before the unit dies. 


The age of a water heater is one of the first indications of its condition. The average water heater will last for several years, but just like all other appliances, there is a time limit on their life. Since water heater lifespan averages vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, it's a good idea to do your research. 

However, once the water heater reaches the high zone on the lifespan guide, it's time to start thinking about a replacement. For example, for a unit with a lifespan of six to 12 years, once you get to the 10-year mark, your focus should swift toward replacement. 

Discolored Water

If there is brown or orange water coming out of the faucet when you turn the hot water on, you have a problem. Rust can form within the inside of a water heater with time. Eventually, the water takes on a color that is reflective of the rust. 

Discolored water could also be the result of old, deteriorating pipes. Contact a plumbing professional so that he or she can look at the pipes and the water heater to determine which is the cause of the problem. However, if the issue consistently only occurs when you turn on the hot water, the water heater is likely the problem. 

Frequent Leaks

Be mindful of water leaks around the water heater. As previously stated, rust can start to collect along the inside of the water heater. Rust is an incredibly destructive material. As the rust continues to form, it basically eats through the metal surfaces in the water heater. Since the metal is also responsible for keeping the water safely inside the tank, any breaking down of the metal also means that the water can leak out. 

By the time you start to notice the puddles of water around the water heater, more than likely, the problem has been going on for some time. Even if you don't recognize the problem, if you start to notice a hike in your water utility bill, you should look around the water heater for a leak.  

Contact a hot water heater repair technician right away if you notice a problem. A repair professional will assess the condition of the water heater and help you come up with a resolution.