New homeowners typically fall into one of two categories. On one side, some people prefer to move in, enjoy their new home, and not think about maintenance until something fails. On the other side, some owners immediately begin looking for ways to improve efficiency or avoid future problems. If you fall into this latter group, you might be casting a suspicious eye toward your hot water tank.
Water heaters have the advantage of being relatively low-cost in terms of plumbing and HVAC appliances, but failures can still be frustrating when they happen unexpectedly. If you want to avoid a potentially messy problem in your new home's future, these three questions will help you determine if (and when) you should install a new hot water tank.
1. How Old Is Your Current Unit?
If you don't have documentation from the previous owners, you may not be able to determine how long your current water tank has been in service. Fortunately, you can still gather enough relevant information to make some educated guesses. To find this information, look for the rating plate on the side of the tank. This sticker or metal plate will tell you some essential facts about your tank.
While the plate won't tell when the tank entered service, it will tell you the manufacture date. A traditional tank-style water heater will last about a decade, give or take a few years. If the rating plate indicates that your tank is about this old (or older), you should probably start thinking about installing a new one.
2. Where Is Your Unit?
Location can affect the potential risks of pushing an aging water heater beyond its limits. Water heaters typically fail as the tank lining begins to rust away. If you're lucky, this may only produce small leaks, but it can also lead to catastrophic failures. A substantial leak might not be a significant issue in an unfinished basement, but it might be in a finished upstairs utility room.
Use your unit's location to determine how much risk you want to take. Is there anything nearby that a leak can damage? Are you worried about the floor or walls around the water heater? Along with the age of your unit, this information can guide you to decide if a proactive replacement is a worthwhile decision.
3. Do You Want to Upgrade?
Finally, you can use the model number on the rating plate to look up efficiency information for your tank. Older models typically have lower efficiency, leading to higher utility bills. If your unit is already approaching the end of its life, a proactive upgrade can help you avoid a failure while also bringing down your water heating costs.
Replacing a critical appliance right after moving into a new home may not sound like fun, but it can be an excellent way to start your homeownership journey on the right foot. By dealing with an aging water heater now, you can save money, time, and frustration in the future.
For more information on hot water tank installations, contact a company near you.