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Stepping into hot water in the shower is something everyone in a household looks forward to. Now imagine the water suddenly going cold from the lack of a water heater. You most likely won’t have a happy household if everyone has to take a cold shower until the water heater is repaired or a new one is installed.

So how do you prevent your water heater to stop working at an inconvenient time? Although a water heater doesn’t call for a lot of maintenance, remember to check on your unit and observe the following for cues of when to replace your water heater.

Cues to Replace Your Hot Water Heater

Age

Just like any other appliance, with time your water heater will no longer function properly. On average, an electric water heater will last 10 to 15 years and a gas water heater will last about six to eight years. If your water heater is an older model, consider the four cues below to help determine if you should replace your hot water heater.

Corrosion

Most hot water tanks are made out of steel which will eventually rust and corrode when water sits for extended amounts of time. It is common to see rust in your hot water when the faucet is turned on. If rust occurs at the temperature and pressure release valve and the water inlet/outlet connections it is a good way to determine if your water heater needs to be replaced.

Unable to Drain

Over time, sediment will build up at the bottom of your hot water tank. Eventually, it will eat away at the interior of the tank and could clog the drain valve. To help extend the life of your water heater and prevent damage, empty the hot water tank once to twice a year.

Leaking

Once your hot water heater starts to leak it normally means there is a problem internally, which is typically unrepairable. If the source of the leak is coming from inside, then it is time you replace your hot water system.

Cold Water

A problem with the heating element or the electric thermostat is common when the system doesn’t produce enough hot water. Have an HVAC professional take a look at your hot water heater to locate the source of the problem. Cold water could also be an issue if the size of the tank is no longer meeting the water demands of the household.

Maintenance is key when it comes to your hot water heater. The better you take care of your unit at first, the longer it will last in the long run. Remember to not wait until your unit has completely stopped working to get a replacement. Water damage and clean up costs can be avoidable if you pay attention to your hot water heater.