There’s never a good time to be without hot water. Many of your daily routines like showering and laundry require plenty of hot water. It can be an incredibly uncomfortable experience when icy cold water is all you get from your pipes.

You may wonder, “how long does a water heater last?” or “can this be repaired, or will I need a replacement water heater?” If you want to avoid an extensive water heater repair or a total water heater replacement, keep your eyes out for these symptoms of problems. 

Loud Noises from the Water Heater

A hot water heater shouldn’t make a lot of noise. If you hear knocking or rumbling noises from your unit, it could mean you need water heater repair. These noises can indicate that the bottom of your tank is filling with sediment and making it harder for the unit to run.

As new water enters the heater, it’s not unusual for sediment to collect at the bottom of the tank. If you use a lot of water or know your water is very hard, this can happen more rapidly. It’s a good idea to call a professional to flush your tank periodically.

Water Leaking from the Tank

Water heater leaking is a sign that metal parts of your tank could be developing fractures. These leaks will usually be small at first, but can quickly develop into a bigger issue if left unaddressed. If you see water pooling around your tank, you need to inspect your heater.

Loose connections can also cause water heaters to leak. If these connections have loosened on their own, it’s best to have a professional inspect these parts and replace them if necessary.

Rust Forming on the Unit

Rust on the outside of your hot water heater near the water inlet is a sign of corrosion. You can assume this is a sign that leaking won’t be far behind. If you see rust forming, there is a good chance you’ll need a replacement water heater.

Not Enough Hot Water or None at All

Lack of hot water is an obvious sign that you need water heater repair or replacement. There can be several reasons for this issue, including:

  • A broken or failing thermostat
  • Heating element failure
  • Tank is too small to keep up with demand
  • Tank is affected by cold weather

Some of these issues can be addressed by a professional. Others mean you should consider a replacement.

Should You Choose Water Heater Repair or Replacement?

Oftentimes, homeowners will choose water heater repair rather than replacement. Depending on the issue, this may not be possible. As you make your decision, it might be good to consider these factors.

How Long Does a Water Heater Last?

Your water heater’s age is an important factor when deciding to repair or replace it. The typical water heater lifespan is 8-12 years. If your unit is nearing that window, you may want to consider water heater replacement rather than repair. If your unit is less than five years old, a repair might be your least expensive option, especially if your unit is under warranty. Remember that most warranties require regular inspection and maintenance by a professional to be valid.

Minor vs. Major Repairs

When you notice leaking, hear noises, or experience a lack of hot water, have a professional come look things over. An expert can help you understand the issue and will often give you an idea if the problem is big or small enough that a repair makes sense. An expert who can repair water heaters will also consider your water heater age as well as the issue and will be able to give you a repair quote or an estimate for a new water heating system.

Water Heater Replacement Options

If replacement is the best course of action, you’ll need to decide what type of water heater to buy.

Conventional Tank Water Heaters

The least expensive option is likely a conventional tank. This can be especially true if you already have a traditional tank installed in your home. These kinds of tanks need yearly maintenance and have a water heater lifespan of about ten years.

Tankless Water Heaters

Another option for your replacement water heating unit is a tankless unit. Sometimes called “on-demand” systems, these heat water only while in use. Contrarily, a traditional heater holds 30 to 60 gallons of hot water. They are considerably more expensive than conventional heaters, but last around twice as long.

When You Need Water Heater Repair or Replacement, Call Us

At Craftsman Plumbing, we can repair water heaters quickly and expertly, thanks to our years of experience and expertise. We also answer your questions and guide you on whether you should repair or replace your water heating unit. Not sure of the best kind of water heater replacement for your home and your water usage needs? Give us a call, and we’ll help you figure it out.

For more information on water heater repair or replacement in Seattle, WA, or to schedule an appointment with one of our highly-skilled plumbers, contact us online or give us a call at (206) 855-6110.