Your water heater is an essential appliance in your home, helping to heat up water in the faucets, bathtub and shower. If you are having problems with loud noises or improper temperature of the water, you might be thinking about replacing it. Before you do, make sure it needs replacing, instead of just repair.
Does the water get hot?
One of the most common complaints about a water heater is that it is not getting hot enough, though this doesn't always mean it needs to be replaced. If the water is simply not hot enough or a little too hot, you can first try changing the thermostat. If adjusting it doesn't work, call in someone to have the unit repaired. On the other hand, if you don't get any hot water from the water heater, then it is probably time for a new one. This would be a pricey repair and you might be better off just having a brand new unit installed.
Is it making a lot of noise?
The cause of the noise your water heater is making will determine whether or not it can be repaired or if you should have it replaced. If the noise is coming from the heating element burning out, then it might be time to replace it. This is something that is difficult and pricey to repair. Before doing so, however, make sure the noise is not from debris that is coming in contact with the heating element. These debris can cause whines, creaks, bangs, and knocks within the unit. Flush out the water tank before replacing it to see if the noise goes away.
How old is it?
Water heaters don't last forever, even if you purchased it top-of-the-line when it was new. It is probably getting used on a regular basis, and even with repairs and proper maintenance, you will need to have it replaced. There is no set amount of time a water heater lasts because it depends on the unit and how well it was taken care of. Typically, you can expect it to last over a decade, and perhaps two decades if it's in good condition. If you have had your unit more than 15 or 20 years, it might be time to upgrade.
What is the overall condition?
Look at the outside of the water heater to assess its condition, especially if you have had it longer than ten years. If it looks worn out, with rust, or elements that seems to be failing, it might be time to replace it. Another hint that you should replace it is if there is a leaking problem. You can call in a plumber to fix a leak, but in some cases, it is an early warning sign that you need a new water heater installation.