It’s not me, it’s you: When to break up with your water heater

Love might be in the air this Valentine’s Day, but when you and your water heater no longer have any heat between you and the warm, fuzzy feelings have worn off, it could be time to end the relationship. But how do you know for sure that it’s time to break up with your appliance?

First, find the age of your water heater. The typical water heater warranty lasts six years, whereas the lifespan of a water heater can range from 10-20 years. If you’re unsure of how old your water heater is, find the description plate, typically located along the bottom of the unit. The first four digits of the listed serial number will indicate the month and date it was manufactured. From there, it’s simple math to determine how long you love birds have been together. If you’ve been with the same water heater for 10 years or more, keep an eye out for a few tell-tale warning signs that there could be trouble in paradise.

Consistently losing hot water is one of the easiest signs to recognize, as well as fluctuating water temperature after minimal use. Per CAEC’s recommendation, the setting of your water heater’s thermostat should be between 120-125 degrees Fahrenheit. If the size you have should easily accommodate the number of people living in your house and you still find yourself losing hot water quickly, it could be a sign.

Strange sounds such as popping, crackling or banging could indicate a buildup of scale or sediment in the tank. This type of buildup doesn’t necessarily call for a whole new water heater, but it could mean the tank could be drained or treated. Contact a professional to inspect the water heater before deciding.

Discolored water, strange smells or strange tastes could also be a sign of bacteria, sulfur, sediment or corrosion in the water, especially for rural homes using well water. Contact a professional to determine the cause; substances in the water can be treated, but tank erosion will surely call for a replacement.

If you find yourself putting more into the relationship and not getting much in return (like making increased and frequent repairs on small parts), it could be a sign that you need to move on to something new.
Finally, watch for leaks. These can be sneaky and show up without warning, especially on water heaters located in an attic. Those leaks are hard to find and continue to grow until they go straight through the ceiling.

It’s never easy to part with something you’ve spent years with, but in the end, you deserve better! If you suspect it’s time to break up with your water heater, call 1-800-545-5735 ext. 2118.