Problems with your water heater may have you instantly calling around to check on replacement costs. Fortunately, not all issues require a new hot water heater. The following guide can help you determine whether you should schedule a repair or beginning shopping around for a replacement.
Know the age of your heater
Water heaters last for 10 to 15 years on average, with electric water heaters lasting longer than gas in most instances. If you are having water heater problems and yours is near this age, it makes more sense to replace it rather than try to repair it. If you aren't sure of the age, check the labeling on the heater. Often there is a manufacture or installation date on the label. Worst case scenario, contact the manufacturer with the serial number to determine how old it is.
Check the water quality
Rusty or brown colored water indicates rust damage inside the tank, which can't be remedied easily. This is because rust means the lining has begun to break down, and a leak may even be imminent. The key is to make sure the rust is actually from the tank. If it is only an issue when the hot water is running and the rust is coming out of all hot water taps in the house, then the hot water tank is the likely culprit. If it comes out of only one tap or both the cold and hot taps, then you may have a rusty supply line.
Hot water tanks may pop slightly when they are refilling. If there are loud pops and cracks or a consistent rumbling noise, you have sediment buildup. The pops occur from the sediment hardening and cracking on the walls of the tanks. If the problem isn't severe, you can have the tank drained and flushed to remove sediment. For older tanks it makes more sense to simply replace them.
Failure to heat
A failure to heat doesn't mean the entire system needs to be replaced, unless it is already reaching the end of its useful lifespan. Most water heaters have at least two heating elements. If one of these elements goes out, then it can be replaced relatively easily. In this case, a repair is much better than replacing a newer unit just because it isn't heating.
Unless your heater has ruptured or is old, chances are you can have it repaired. Contact a water heater professional like Aggressive Mechanical Contractors, Inc.