What are the signs that a water heater is outdated?

April 10th, 2021

Hot water heaters can have a long and productive life if well maintained. But when the time comes, there will be some tell-tale signs that your tank is nearing the end and should be replaced. In this post, the plumbing experts at Plomberie Richard et Fils explain why it’s important to change your hot water heater when it is outdated, and how to know that it’s time.

Don’t wait too long to replace your old hot water tank

A hot water tank is not a piece of equipment to keep around when it is past its prime. Here are the top 3 reasons why it’s important to replace your old hot water tank:

1.   Potential for flooding

When a hot water tank fails, it can start to leak. Even a small amount of water can cause damage to your floors, sub-floors, and walls. Left unattended, the damage can be severe if the tank gives way and releases its contents all at once. Trust us, nobody wants 40+ gallons of water gushing onto their floor.

2.   Wasted money on energy bills

The decision to delay on a hot water heater replacement is usually cost-driven. It’s important to realize, however, that when a hot water tank is too old, it operates quite inefficiently and will end up costing you a lot in gas and/or electricity bills.

3.   Stuck in a cold shower

If the high costs of reasons 1 and 2 don’t speak to you, perhaps the discomfort of a cold shower will! Don’t wait so long that you can’t get any more hot water out of your tank. A replacement could take several days depending on product and plumber availability.

Signs that your hot water tank is getting old

By knowing what to look for, you’ll be better able to judge when it is time to replace your hot water heater. Here are some of the most common signs that it’s time to get rid of your old hot water tank and replace it with something more reliable and efficient.

Leaks and drips

Hot water heaters can leak in a few different places when they get too old.

The first spot to check is the pressure relief valve. Listen for hissing noises as a sure sign that the valve is leaking.

To check for leaks around the tank itself, sprinkle a light dusting of flour or baby powder on the floor around the tank then watch for little paths to open up. Even the smallest trickle or droplets of water can be detected this way and give you an important headstart in calling in a plumber to help solve the issue before the tank bursts.

Brownish red, rusty water

Hot water coming from your taps and shower should always run clear. If you notice that your water is starting to look a little brownish or has a red tint, it could be a sign of a rusty hot water tank.  Alternatively, it could be an issue inside your plumbing pipes. Either way, call a plumber right away – this isn’t generally a DIY fix.

Gurgle, rumble, roar

Your hot water tank is not supposed to make noise! When older or damaged tanks collect a build-up of sediments like dirt and rust, the sediment will start to slosh around in the tank and produce rumbling and gurgling noises. Listen to the voice of your aging hot water tank and call in a plumber.

Eek! Cold water

When your hot water tank is no longer producing water that is hot enough, or there’s simply not enough of that hot water, it could be a sign that it’s time to replace your hot water heater.  Although there are ways to maintain and extend the life of your hot water system past the common 10-12 year lifespan, there will come a time when it’s time to bite the bullet and invest in a new system.

Trust a plumber for the right information

Shopping for a hot water tank without the advice of a plumber could cost you more time, energy and money in the long run. Not all hot water heaters are appropriate for different homes and the needs of those who live there. When it comes time to replace your old water heater, start with a plumber.

The team here at Plomberie Richard et Fils can help you determine if a replacement is necessary in the first place, and help you choose the right hot water tank for your home. If you’re in the West Island Montreal area and are looking for a new hot water heater, reach out to the hot water experts at Plomberie Richard et Fils. We’re here to help!

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