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How Do You Tell When A Water Heater Is Going Bad?

The water heater is about 14 years old and seems to work fine. There are no obvious leaks, rust stains and plenty of hot water. But the water where I live is very hard and I’ve heard the average life on a heater is about 10 years. I don’t like to wait for emergencies to happen on the other hand there isn’t any point in replacing something that is working.

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  1. Comment by Anonymous
    August 16, 2009 @ 10:35 am

    Normally, you might see one of two clues that your water heater is going bad. Either it will just suddenly start leaking from the bottom of the tank or you will see a lot of corrosion forming at the bottom. Usually the water tank will corrode from the inside out. This is caused by the many impurities brought into the water heater by the water. As the water is heated, some of these impurities, like silica, iron, or magnesium, settle out from the warmer water. As the temperature of the water increases inside the tank, the water can no longer keep all the minerals in solution. As the warm water exits the heater through it’s outlet connection, the colder water enters through the inlet connection and drops to the bottom of the heater’s tank. This keeps the minerals and dirt at the cooler bottom of the tank and it eventually corrodes the materials of the heater at the lowest point.
    Every water heater I’ve ever seen has a hose bib connection on the lower side of the tank. You should use this valve at least once a month to drain out about a gallon of water. This also causes some of the minerals to be drawn off from the tank and will prolong the life of the water heater. DO NOT USE THE SAFETY RELIEF VALVE HIGHER UP ON THE TANK TO DO THIS!!!!!!
    If you ever see water at the bottom of the water heater, get help as quickly as possible before you have a flooded room where the heater is installed.

  2. Comment by kurt w
    August 16, 2009 @ 1:17 pm

    shortly before mine gave out i had noticed it making popping cracking noises after using the hot water,

  3. Comment by hometech
    August 16, 2009 @ 3:47 pm

    i have hot water too.. mine pops all the time and has done so for a few years now.. amount of water is starting to run out.. but mine is in the basement and wont damage anything if it leaks. mine is 12yrs old. if i was worried about anything getting wet i would replace it soon. they dont cost that much and you still have time to shop around

  4. Comment by Brian M
    August 16, 2009 @ 6:12 pm

    if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. 10 years is an average I have an 18 year old water heater in one of my units that still works fine. When it goes bad you will know. The only advice I can offer is to drain the water heater once a year to help clear out the sediment that collects in the bottom of it.

  5. Comment by shermism
    August 16, 2009 @ 11:27 pm

    My first water heater lasted about 15 years then the pipes started to bang when I ran the hot water– time to replace it then

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