To avoid sudden, inconvenient breakdowns, you should have your home’s water heater checked regularly by a professional. If you often have trouble getting hot water, or if your utility bills are high, you could need a repair or replacement. A new unit is a significant investment, but it can help you make sure your family stays comfortable. It can also reduce your utility bills and maintenance expenses. Here are four signs you need a new water heater in your home in Charlotte, North Carolina:

Old Model

If your water heater is more than about a decade old, consider a new unit to avoid problems with parts and wiring. You’ll have lots of time to shop for the best model for your family, and you won’t get stuck without hot water suddenly.

There are many efficient models available. For example, tankless water heaters save space and energy. They’re much smaller than traditional models because they don’t have a storage tank for hot water. Since they only heat water when you need it, they use less energy as well.

You can check the age of your water heater by looking for the serial number on the manufacturer’s sticker near the top. A letter represents the month, and the next two numbers are the year. A is for January, B is for February and so on. That means any unit with D08 as the first part of its serial number was made in April 2008.

Strange Noises

Loud cracks, pops, or rumbling noises when your water heater is working could mean there’s sediment inside the tank. The minerals in your water can collect on the walls and bottom, and the heat can harden them. The heating coils for electric water heaters can become less effective and produce unpleasant burning smells. You could also start running out of hot water because all the sediment reduces the amount of space in your tank.

Most water heaters have a sacrificial anode rod made from magnesium, aluminum, or zinc to attract sediment and prevent corrosion. However, it’ll eventually fail. You could have the anode rod replaced if you contact an expert quickly. You should have your tank drained to remove contaminants. But you’ll need to remove a water heater with too much sediment. You can prolong the life of your water heater by having an additional anode rod or a bigger one installed. If you decide you need a second one, make sure they’re both the same type of metal.

Discolored Water

If your hot water looks red or brown, you could have sediment in the water. Have a professional check your anode rod to see if you need a new unit. You should also watch out for water that smells or has a metallic taste. If there’s a problem with your cold water as well, the issue is probably being caused by a corroded or damaged pipe. In that case, you’ll need professional plumbing help.

Leaks

Sediment in your water heater can cause small cracks and leaks. It can also damage the temperature and pressure relief valve . As a result, it’ll make explosions and other accidents more likely. If you see biological growth or damaged floors near your water heater, it could have a leak. Disconnect the power with your home’s circuit breaker, shut off your water, and drain the tank as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to repair a leaky tank. Have it replaced by a professional, and make sure you clean any excess water. You may also need to have part of your floor removed and replaced to prevent bad smells and pests attracted by additional moisture.

Air Today has 45 years of plumbing, electrical and HVAC experience. We can help you decide when you need a new water heater. We offer several national brands, and we guarantee 100-percent satisfaction for all our customers. For outstanding service, call us at 704-893-1230.

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