Like all other major home appliances, hot water heaters are designed to last for a certain amount of years before they malfunction or break down. Even if you maintain your hot water heater properly, it can still exhibit some age-related problems over time, including rust and leaking water. Here are two age-related problems your hot water might have that indicates you need to replace it soon.
Rust on the Tank
Most hot water heaters use metal tanks to hold and heat water. Although steel, iron, and other strong metals can withstand a substantial amount of stress, the materials can still rust as they age. Rust can show up anywhere on the water heater's tank, including near the waterlines located on the top of the tank and around the drainage line extending from the base of the tank. If these rusted areas deteriorate too much, they can leak water out of the appliance.
You can inspect the top and base of your hot water heater for rust. If you find extensive areas of rust, it may be time to replace your water heater. Even if you don't see any signs of water leaks on or around the appliance now, it can leak later on.
There's one more thing you can do to determine whether or not you need to replace your water heater. You can check the quality of your home's water.
Check Your Home's Water Quality and Color
Hot water heaters can build up with rust, sediments, and other substances as they age. Some of these substances can settle along the base of the tank or inside the water lines connected to the tank's top. If any of these minerals break free from the tank, they can enter your home's water supply.
The hot water coming from your hot water taps and showerheads may appear discolored and cloudy. The color and quality of your water may depend on the types of sediments found inside your water heater. For instance, rust and iron can make your water look brown or reddish-brown. If your tank contains too much manganese or similar types of minerals, your water may appear yellow or close to yellow.
If you notice any of these water quality problems in your hot water, have a plumber or HVAC contractor come in and inspect your water heater. A contractor may flush out your water heater's tank to see if it improves the quality and color of your hot water. If flushing doesn't work, go ahead and install a new hot water heater. Your old water heater may be too contaminated to save.
To learn more about replacing your hot water heater, contact an HVAC contractor or visit a site such as http://www.rbincorporated.com/.