7 Signs It's Time to Replace Your Water Heater

Replace Your Water Heater

Trustworthy Water Heater Repair & Replacement Services

Water heaters are an essential part of living a healthy lifestyle. Water heaters, as the name suggests, convert energy to heat water that is to be used for many household applications: showers, dishes, laundry, cooking, and more. Once it is properly heated, the water is carried through your pipes and into your home. It’s something that doesn’t require much thought by the homeowner, which is why many individuals aren't aware of when to replace the water heater.


Are you having issues with the hot water heater in your home? To help you determine when to replace your water heater, we've outlined 7 common signs that may indicate a moderate to severe issue. Contact a specialist at Stephens Plumbing to receive assistance with a water heater issue

How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

Unlike some things that get better with age - wine, cheese, a good pair of jeans - the performance of a water heater will decline due to broken parts and corrosion. So, how long do hot water heaters last in a home? The average lifespan of a water heater is between 9 to 10 years. Your water heater’s serial number should indicate its expiration date. It is a sticker typically placed on the upper portion of the water heater. Within the serial number is a code for the month and year the water heater is due to expire. Check the manufacturer’s website to crack the code and note it somewhere easily accessible for the future.

A general rule of thumb: water heaters over 10 years old should probably be replaced. But, if it has been well-maintained over the years and has yet to spring a leak, you can decide to wait until a leak forms to replace it. There are various signs that your hot water heater is failing and should be replaced by our team of plumbers in Lisle, IL and other areas. From the formation of rusty water, water heater noises, to cold water, it's important to be aware the most common indicators of system failure.

Signs Your Hot Water Heater is Failing

Little to No Warm Water

If the water from your kitchen or bathroom sinks is cold or room temperature,  this may be a sign its time to replace your water heater. This issue may be caused by a broken or malfunctioning heating element. If your water heater is less than 5 years of age, we recommend contacting a licensed plumber to repair or replace the heating element in your water heater. On the other hand, a water heater that is 8 years of age or older should be replaced. While replacing the heating element on an older water heater may temporarily restore your supply of hot water, other types of issues such as a leak or excess sediment will cause further issues down the line. Contact Stephens Plumbing to receieive emergency assistance for your water heater. We offer water heater replacement and repair services at competitive rates.

Rusty, Muddy, or Sandy Water

If you notice orange-hued water coming from one or more fixtures in your home, this is a sign of excess rust in the tank. To avoid health issues from this sediment, we recmmend replacing the water heater in your house. Additionally, you may begin to notice rust on the water pipes connected to the heater. The process of determining the source of the rust in your water can be complicated. Check the water inlet valve on your water heater to confirm if it has rust. If the valve includes noticable rust stains, this can be an indicator of rust inside the water tank as well. The formation of rust on your water inlet valve or in the tank is a clear sign your hot water heater is failing.

Your water heater isn’t the only thing that can rust. Galvanized pipes can also rust and cause residue to leak into water passing through. Muddy or sandy-colored water signals an issue with more sediment buildup. This could be dirt, soil, or deposits from your municipal plumbing system. As this water is not the safest to consume, contact a plumber for an inspection to get to the root of the problem.

Water Heater is Producing Noises

Popping Noise

Noises may be the most obvious sign that it's time to replace your hot water heater. As the water heater in your house becomes older, mineral deposits may begin to form due to excess lime, calcium, sand, or dirt in your water supply. Over time, the excess sediment at the bottom of your tank will begin to impede with the performance of your water heater. When this type of issue occors, you will notice a popping sound while your system is activated. Depending on the age of the unit, this may be a sign it's time to drain or replace your water heater.

Searing Sound

If you notice a searing sound coming from the water heater in your laundry or utility room, this is likely caused by a leak. This sound is created by excess dripping water that is producing physical contact with the burner on your water heater. Unfortunately, it's not always possible to fix a leak and this sound is a clear sign it's time to replace your water heater.

Shrieking Noise

Take a deep breath! A high-pitched shrieking sound is not a sign of water heater failure. It is merely an indicator of restricted water flow in your system. Check the inlet control valve on you water heater to ensure it is fully open. If the valve is completely open and you continue to notice the water heater noise, give our team a call by phone at (630) 968-0783 to receive assistance.

Hissing Noise

When a water heater is producing a hissing noise, this is an indicator of excess moisture on the burner in the system. This is a normal sound and does not indicate signs of the hot water heater failing.

Odd Tasting Water

Sensory indicators are the most obvious signs that it's time to replace your water heater. A metallic taste in your water may be caused by corrosion on the inside of the water tank. These metals aren’t safe to consume, so it’s best to replace your water heater entirely to prevent further ingestion by your loved ones.

Water Leaks

If your water heater is above 10 years of age, you may begin to notice leaks at the bottom of your tank. To avoid damage to your flooring, furnuture, and equipment, we recommend replacing the water heater. A common cause of water heater leaks is enlargement in the tank. The water heater in your house is exposed to couple thousand heating cycles prior to the end of its lifespan. Over time, the abundance of hot water in the rank will cause internal metal components to become enlarged.

The enlargement of the internal metal components in the water tank may cause water to leak from the system while you are showering or washing the dishes. Since this type of leak may not occur when you're not using the water heater, it can be hard to find a small to moderate leak. While a water heater leak is commonly caused by expanding components in the tank, they may also form due to oose fittings and connections to the water tank. You may also notice a water leak near the temperature overflow line. If you notice water or rust on the flooring in your laundry room, this is a sign it's time to replace your water heater with an energy-efficient system.

Noticable Odors

The prominance of strange odors in your water may be an indicator of a deteriorating tank. When the interior of a water tank begins to break down, the liklihood of finding dangerous chemicals and materials in your water increases. Contact a plumbing specialist to learn more about the signs of a water heater failure. 

Thermostat Temperature Settings

Is the temperature of the water in your shower warm instead of hot? This issue may be caused by a low temperature setting on your water heater. The thermost on the water heater should be set between 120 to 140 degrees to ensure the system is able to provide theraputic rejuvenating hot water in your shower.

When the water in your home is warm instead of hot, this may also be due to a high demand of hot water in your home. Once you reach the maximum capacity of your water heater, you will be required to wait 5 to 10 minutes for the tank to fill up and produce additional hot water. While the process of receiving and heating the water is fast, it's not instantaneous. If the water heater in your house is struggling to keep up with your demands, this may be due to excess sediment in the tank. As the sediment continues to grow in your tank, the available space for hot water will decrease. To receive an efficient water heater that is able to accomidate your water usage patterns, give our team a call by phone at (630) 968-0783 or schedule an appointment online. 

Plumbing Repair & Install Services Near You

Do you notice a water heater leak in your home? Is your system producing loud noises while it's operating? Stephens Plumbing offers water heater repair, replacement, and installation services to homes in areas such as Addison, Bolingbrook, Downers Grove, Plainfield, Naperville, and Romeoville. Give our team a call by phone at (630) 968-0783 or book an appointment online to receive help. From gas leaks, malfunctioning furnaces, to broken sump pumps, our team is able to resolve all types of HVAC and plumbing issues in your home.

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