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Replacing your water heater can be a headache if you don’t see it coming. When you don’t expect it, you’re hit with an extra, unplanned expense and it can do some damage to your home.

The best way to minimize the pain is to keep an eye out for a few warning signs that can help you anticipate an upcoming replacement.

Knowing the age of your water heater is a good starting point, but it’s not the only thing you need to know. You might have heard that most water heaters last 8-10 years. That’s not really accurate. Based on our experience, the average water heater life span is 12-14 years.

Some water heaters can last beyond 12-14 years, so your best bet is to keep the age in mind while looking out for the following warning signs.

Here are 3 signs that a water heater upgrade is on the horizon:

1. Your water heater is leaking.

A leak from your water heater means it’s time for a new one, and you don’t want to wait too long. The leak could start small and grow into the equivalent of turning on a hose. The problem is you don’t know how quickly it will fail.

Occasionally, if the leak is coming from an individual component, such as the temperature and pressure relief valve, that piece can be replaced before updating the whole system.

This is where the age of the water heater comes into play. If the heater is more than 10 years old and things are starting to break, you’re probably better off replacing the whole thing. If it’s less than 10 years old, you can consider replacing individual components first.

2. You have rusty water.

Rusty or brown water coming from your faucets can signal that your water heater is on the way out. That’s because the rust you see is the actual heater tank, rusting down and slowly exiting each time you turn on the faucet.

When the tank starts to rust down, there are usually no visible changes to the outside of the heater. As a result, this issue can go unnoticed and the rusty water is a clear sign that could indicate your water heater is breaking down.

3. You can’t get your white clothes clean.

Even before you notice rusty water, you might be able to see another warning sign. If your water heater is starting to fail and breaking down into your water, you might notice this when you wash your clothes.

If your white clothes are not getting as clean as they used to, this could be from your water heater tank failing. If you notice this, just keep an eye out for the other warning signs.

If you have an electric water heater:

These warning signs can apply to both gas and electric water heaters, but electric water heaters have a few more pieces that can be replaced before the whole thing needs to be updated.

The thermostat, for example, can be replaced apart from the heater. The same is true for the heating element. Keep these items in mind if your electric heater starts to break down since replacing the individual component could save you from unnecessarily replacing everything.

If you need any assistance with your water heater, you can always reach us at 770.560.1792.

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