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Identifying When to Replace a Hot Water Heater

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By : Flynna Jones    99 or more times read
Hot water heaters are indispensable systems in a home just as refrigerators or ranges are. However, in time they will wear down and show some malfunctioning symptoms. These symptoms will grow from bad to worse also in time, until a total breakdown occurs. But before bad comes to worse, how can you tell that your hot water heater is failing? How can you tell if it needs replacement?

One expert says that there is no tried and true way to know precisely when a water heater needs replacement. Obviously, a leak in the body of the heater requires immediate replacement. A major failure, such as complete or partial loss of hot water supply, leakage around plumbing fittings, or excessive corrosion on the heater body itself or at the heater's plumbing connections, are bad signs. Add to this, if the unit is more than eight years old, replacement is the best options than repair (that is, if a repair is possible). And this depends upon your budget.

Though all the active parts and most of the plumbing parts--the heating elements, thermostat, anode rod, and the various valves--are designed to be replaceable, the main difficulty to disassemble is corrosion. A water heater corrodes more quickly than other plumbing fixtures because it is subjected to constant high temperature at which it operates. Corrosion makes replacing any parts uncertain, since the replacement may leak, which means that the entire heater must be replaced. So, be prepared for the possibility of replacement even when the repair seems simple and straightforward. So it goes with plumbing!

The life expectancy of a water heater is only 8-12 years. Beyond this, they become less efficient. This is true for all heaters. Modern water heaters have better insulation and are more efficient that can give you dramatic savings in fuel and/or electric costs by converting to it.

Replacing or installing a water heater can cost $500 to $1,000 or more, depending on the size and type of water heater, timeliness of the installation (whether planned or an emergency case), and the location of the installation in relation to the water system. As an example there may be an installation price difference for a basement versus a second or third floor, near bedrooms, a bath or laundry area.

Nowadays, there is the tank-less water heaters which are expected to last longer. Tank-less water heater, is the most improved model, and is growing to be more and more popular in the market. Homeowners find that they no longer need to have a large tank of hot water occupying a large portion of their basement or laundry area.

Heating water is almost, if not, an everyday activity. Whether you need to replace your water heater or not is for you to decide. Pick the model which would serve you best. Once you have decided to replace your water heater, it would be more practical to get the same model as your previous one.

One thing to remember, repairing or restoring an old water heater is a practical thing to do, but can that repair match the savings of a new replacement in the long run?
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