Replacing your water heater probably isn't at the top of your list of favorite activities, but it has to be done sometime. If you're experiencing serious trouble with your water heater, it can be difficult to decide whether it's worth keeping it around and repairing it again or whether you should just cut your losses and start over. Your repairman can offer you expert advice on whether the water heater needs replacing or not, but sometimes there are gray areas and ultimately the decision is up to you anyway. Here are three types of malfunction that may indicate that your water heater has reached the end of its working lifespan.
1. A malfunction that will cost nearly as much to fix as to buy a new water heater
If your water heater replacement estimate isn't all that much higher than the cost to buy replacement parts and labor to repair your current water heater, the financially sound thing to do is to simply put the money you would have used for repairs towards the replacement instead. This is especially true if your water heater is getting old and the repair isn't expected to buy you much time anyway.
2. A malfunction involving a leak in the water heater itself
If your water heater corrodes heavily enough that a hole appears in the side of the tank, replacement parts and mechanical work won't be up to the task of fixing it. In this scenario, you'll have to reconcile yourself to saying goodbye to your old water heater. If it hasn't started to leak yet but is quite rusty, it's well on its way there and you should probably start saving up for a replacement.
3. A malfunctioning drain valve that's permanently clogged
Flushing your water heater out each year, which is a recommended way to keep sediment from building up inside it, can also help keep the drain valve clear. If the drain valve somehow clogs shut, consult with your repairman about how this will affect your water heater's viability. It may mean that you'll need to replace soon.
Keep an eye out for these signs when you're considering whether to replace your water heater. And remember, although a water heater isn't generally expected to last past fifteen years or so, that doesn't mean you should automatically replace a fifteen-year-old water heater if it doesn't show any of these signs of quitting. For more information, contact a water heater replacement specialist, like one at Do It Right Plumbing.