Is It Time to Get a New Hot Water Heater?
Hot water heaters usually last for many years before they need replacing, but of course even the most reliable brand and model will eventually wear out and break down. While you can sometimes repair a faulty hot water heater, you might want to consider when it may be time to get a new one, versus trying to "patch up" the old one.
Not enough hot water
Not getting enough hot water from the heating tank may be one reason to consider a new heater altogether, as a tank can only heat up so much water so quickly. If you and your family are suddenly making too many demands on the hot water heater, such as with larger appliances, you may have no choice but to upgrade to a larger tank, or to choose a tankless heater.
However, if you know the tank is big enough but the heater is suddenly not producing enough hot water, check the thermostat so see if it's been adjusted too low. A heating coil may also be burned out. For a gas heater, there could be a blocked flue or vent so that the heater isn't working as it should, or the gas valve could be broken and gas is not lighting the heating element.
Circuits keep flipping
If the hot water heater suddenly starts shutting down its circuit, you might call an electrician to see if the home needs different wiring. A hot water heater should have its own circuit, so if your home suddenly has other appliances connected to that circuit, that surge of power will typically trip the circuit. If this is not the issue, the hot water heater itself may be breaking down and drawing too much power as it struggles to work. If you've had an electrician check the wiring to the home, it may be time to replace the heater.
Spike in bills
If your gas or electric bills start to spike, this can often be traced to a faulty hot water heater. The insulating material around the tank may be breaking down, so that the heater needs to work more often. You might try an insulating blanket meant for that type of tank and add insulation to the room where the tank is kept, if it's not already insulated. If this doesn't bring your utility bills back to normal, the tank's insulation may be overly corroded, the heating element may be breaking down, or the wiring may be faulty beyond repair, and it's time to have the heater replaced! Contact a plumber who offers hot water service for more information.