Should I Change My Old Water Heater?

June 10, 2010

My water heater is old, should I change it?

The life of a conventional water heater depends on many variables. As stated in previous blogs, routine maintenance is the key to prolonged use. However, the ph balance of the water and mineral content plays a significant role in the life of a water heater.

If your water heater is over 6 years old and has been neglected, being prepared to change the heater is the best option. Another important consideration is should the water heater tank leak, what damage will it cause to your property?

Many water heaters are installed in interior closets or attics. Although plumbing codes require these heaters be installed in a drain pain, many are not. Those that are, the pan and drain should be properly inspected to assure that should the pan fill with water, that the water will drain properly. This can be easily tested by pouring water into the pan. It is not unusual to find drains that are improperly pitched such that water doesn’t drain properly. This often results in overflow from the pan rendering it useless.

The other problem is that drain pans, even when installed properly, are not failsafes. Pressure develops within water heater tanks. Sometimes, leaks at or on water heaters tend to spray rather than drip or pour.

Another important consideration is convenience. While there is never a good time for a water heater to fail, some times are worse than others. Perhaps you are planning a reunion and will be having a house full of guests. Obviously, this would be a very inconvenient time to deal with such a problem.

On the other hand, I have seen neglected water heaters last beyond 20 years. Unfortunately, even though these water heaters may seem fine, due to the years of sediment accumulation within the tank, their efficiency was significantly diminished.

So, back to the question, should you replace your old water heater? If within our service area, AAA AUGER will happily provide a free inspection to help identify any immediate concerns.