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Is your water heater acting up suddenly? Some issues can be repaired, while others indicate the need for replacement. The age and condition of your water heater also come into play. Use this guide you help you decide when to replace your water heater.

How Old is Your Water Heater?

Under ideal conditions, traditional storage water heaters last eight to 12 years. Tankless models have a longer lifespan of 20 years or more.

If you’re unsure when your water heater was installed, check the serial number on the unit. All you need to look at is the first three digits. The letter corresponds to a month. A=January, B=February, and so on. The next two numbers indicate the installation year. 15 represents 2015, 18 represents 2018, and so on.

What is the Water Heater’s Care and Maintenance History?

If you’ve kept up with regular flushing, draining, and cleaning over the years, you can expect to get a full decade or two from your water heater, depending on the style. But without regular upkeep, your water heater may not last as long. Remember this when deciding when it’s time for a water heater replacement.

What’s the Problem?

A higher-than-usual water heating bill is a common sign of trouble. If your operating costs are rising, take a closer look to find out what’s wrong:

  • Leaks: If water pools around the tank because of a leaky valve, this is an easy fix. However, if the tank has corroded through, a replacement is in order.
  • Noises: Knocking sounds indicate sediment buildup, which can be removed by flushing the tank. If the noise continues after flushing, a more serious problem could be to blame.
  • Rust-colored water: Orange water with a metallic smell might mean the anode rod needs replacing. But if the tank itself is starting to rust, you should replace it.
  • No hot water: Common causes of no hot water include a misadjusted thermostat, broken heating element, and undersized tank. Correcting the thermostat is easy, and the heating element may be repairable, but if the tank is too small, a replacement is your best bet.

In summary, you may be able to repair your water heater if the unit is less than 10 years old and the malfunction involves a replaceable part. However, you should consider replacing your water heater if the unit is getting old, has not been maintained properly over the years, and is showing signs of irreversible wear.
Still not sure if it’s time for a water heater replacement? Turn to Parley’s PPM Plumbing, Heating & Cooling for help. We can attempt a water heater repair first and recommend a replacement unit if necessary. Our team is knowledgeable about traditional storage tanks, tankless water heaters, and commercial water heater installation. To schedule services, please call 801-226-3033 if you live in Utah County, or reach us at 801-229-2665 if you’re a Salt Lake County resident. You can also contact us online with any questions you have.

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