Signs of Water Heater Failure and New Water Heater Options

Water Heater Tanks

No water heater lasts forever, and eventually, all water heaters fail. While tank-style water heaters can last up to 15 years with routine maintenance, neglecting this maintenance can greatly reduce their lifespans. Read on to learn some telltale signs that it is likely time to replace your water heater and whether you should opt for a tankless water heater or a traditional tank-style heater.

What Are Some Signs of Water Heater Failure?

While your plumber can help you make the final decision whether to repair or replace your existing water heater, the following are signs that it is likely time to replace your water heater. 

Rusty Hot Tap Water

If your hot tap water suddenly has small particles of rust in it or has an overall murky appearance, yet your cold water runs relatively clear, then that is a sign that your water heater may be rusting from the inside out. Rust is a form of corrosion that cannot be reversed or repaired. Surprisingly, these rust particles do not typically pose an immediate health hazard if you shower in them or even if you accidentally consume a few of them. 

However, if there is rust inside of your hot water tank, this rust will likely eventually eat through the tank and create a crack that cannot simply be repaired. Replace your hot water heater before this crack develops. 

Persistent Popping Sounds 

If you hear popping sounds coming from your hot water tank, then that is a sign that you have sediment or hard water mineral build-up on your tank’s heating element. These sounds are created when the water underneath the hard mineral layer boils and air bubbles pop their way through this sediment layer. 

If these popping sounds just started, then there is a chance that this sediment layer may be able to be removed before it damages your tank heating element or leads to other tank damage. However, if your water heater has been making this noise for quite some time and your water now doesn’t seem to be heating efficiently, then this sediment layer has likely caused the heating element to overheat and burn out. 

A Leaky Tank

Hot water heater tanks leak for many reasons, but once a tank begins to leak, the only option is complete tank replacement. Of course, you do not want to wait until your tank springs a leak to replace it — a leaky tank can cause extensive water damage to your home and can lead to a sky-high water bill if the tank leak is not caught immediately. 

Which Water Heater Style Is Best for You?

If your water heater has failed, you’ll need a replacement. Look into options for your new water heater.

Tankless or On-Demand Water Heater

Tankless water heaters, also called on-demand water heaters, are newer to the market compared to tank-style heaters. However, tankless water heaters have become very popular due to their energy efficiency.

A tankless water heater does not keep a large tank of water heated around the clock. Instead, it heats the exact amount of hot water necessary on demand when someone in the home needs it. This water heater style has an electric heating element or gas burner inside of it that surrounds a water pipe. As cold water runs through the pipe, it is heated instantly and then sent to the desired hot water tap. 

If you have a small household that does not require a lot of hot water on a daily basis, opting for an on-demand water heater can help lower your home hot water-heating expenses. In fact, a family that uses less than 41 gallons of hot water daily can reduce the expense of heating their hot water. For that amount of water, on-demand heaters can be up to 34 percent more energy efficient.

Tank-Style Water Heater

While tankless water heaters are still good options for larger families, energy savings drops dramatically the more water an on-demand style water heater heats each day. In addition, a very large on-demand water heater meant to meet the needs of a large family may have a high electricity power draw that requires a home’s electrical system to be updated to accommodate this draw. 

For these reasons, a tank-style water heater is often a better option for a large family that requires a large amount of hot water each day. In addition, tank-style heaters are typically more affordable than their tankless counterparts. 

There are more tank-style water heater styles on the market than ever before. While traditional electric and gas-powered tank-style water heaters are still popular, heat pump or hybrid tank-style water heaters are becoming more popular than ever. Heat-pump water heaters pull heat from the air around the hot water tank or from deep underground to heat water using less electricity or natural gas. 

A heat-pump water heater can use up to 63 percent less energy than a traditional electric tank-style water heater. 

If you have an older tank-style water heater, then know when it is likely time to replace it instead of repairing it. Replacing it with the right water heater style can help you save money on your home energy bills. Contact Jim Dhamer Plumbing and Sewer, Inc., at (630) 964-2222 for expert water heater repair or replacement today. 

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