Wouldn’t life be great if everything we bought had a built-in life expectancy timer? In 4 years, 2 days, and 7 hours, your hot water heater will die. In 31 days your refrigerator will stop working. In 15 years your boiler will quit. Sweet, that’s still a long time away, but in any event, appliance breakdown can be a big annoyance.
Unfortunately, we don’t have such conveniences, although if we did it would certainly make manufactures more honest. No, I’m afraid that in everyday life, all we have is estimation and expectation. Sometimes the best we can do is guess at how long an appliance will last us, and hope it’s long enough that we can afford to replace it.
Even though we don’t have exact dates of when our appliances will die, there are warning signs which can help us prepare. Hot water heaters are one of the modern day conveniences that many people would hate to live without. Depending on your schedule and the plumber’s schedule, and a few other factors, replacing a dead hot water heater could leave you a day or two without hot water. Now, unless you’re the mountain man type, taking freezing cold showers in the dead of winter, or even summer, probably isn’t your idea of fun. So it’s important to observe signs of the times.
There’s 4 ways to identify if your water heater is standing on its last leg.
As a water heater gets old, it breaks down and the internal metal begins to rust into the water. This rusting can actually tint the color of the water, warning you that your appliance is getting old.
Lukewarm Hot Water
Another good indicator that your water heater is losing steam is if it actually is losing steam. If your hot water isn’t as hot as it used to be, or it takes a long time to get hot water at the tap, the clock is ticking and replacement is near.
Occasionally, water heaters can actually begin to leak and cause a slow drip at the water heater location. If you see water puddles close to your appliance, there’s a good chance that something is wrong and needs to be inspected.
Plain Old Age
Water heater life expectancy is partially determined by water quality. Water heaters in Lancaster, PA tend to heat hard water which can decrease their productivity. In our local area, you can expect a water heater to last about 8-10 years on average. So if your appliance is flipping the calendar on year 8, it may be a good time to start putting some money away for replacement.
We don’t know the exact day that we will need a water heater replacement, but keeping watch for warning signals can help keep our home running smoothly. No one likes a disruption from normal, but they always happen. The more we are prepared for those disruptions, the easier they become and the smoother the transition.
Make sure that you know a good plumber who can make a water heater installation happen quickly and efficiently. This can make a big difference in returning hot water to your pipes and singing to your shower.
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, Lancaster
p.s. So, have you noticed any of the warning signs in your home? Have you already had your water heater replaced? Tell us about your experience.