Water Heaters 101: 3 Fast Facts About Your Water Heater

February 24, 2020

Did you know there are people out there who choose to take cold showers?

Research has shown that daily cold showers provide numerous benefits, like improved circulation, fat loss and lower stress. If, like us, you’re cringing at the thought of taking a cold shower, you’ll want to keep your water heater running in tip top shape. 

To help make sure you have relaxing, warm showers this winter, here are a few things you should know about your water heater:

1) If your water heater is 10 years or older, it might be time to say goodbye

It’s been there for you for 10+ years, and it’s (hopefully) provided you warm, warm showers during that time. But as water heaters age, like all appliances, they become less effective and start to break down. Eventually, they can begin to leak, produce sediment, and worst of all — stop heating the water. And most of the malfunctioning begins around age 8-10.

Find out how old your water heater is by checking the serial number on the manufacturer’s sticker located on the equipment. The serial number will have a date code such as “J083491203.”

The letter “J” is for the month. “J” is the 10th letter in the alphabet so it stands for the 10th month, meaning October. Then the next two numbers “08” mean the year. So the water heater was made in October 2008.

2) You shouldn’t hear a loud rumbling

A rumbling and knocking sound coming from your water heater? If you’re thinking, “that doesn’t sound quite right…” you’re spot on. (They do say another benefit of cold showers is increased alertness, so maybe you do take them after all?)

As mentioned above, one symptom of an aging water heater is the tendency for sediment to begin building up at the bottom of the tank. Eventually this sediment buildup can start to erode the tank, making it brittle and primed for leaks. And with water damage being one of the most common homeowners insurance claims, you’ll want to have your heater checked out before it begins leaking. 

When you start to hear a rumbling from your water heater, give your plumber a call. Proper maintenance and draining of the sediment can keep your warm shower guardian running smoother for longer.

3) Water should be in the heater, not around it

If you decided not to check the age of your water heater, didn’t contact your plumber when it started that crazy rumbling, and now have water on the floor coming from your heater, you officially have a leak. (And you really MUST like cold showers.)

It’s not just sediment buildup you need to be aware of in your water tank. Metal water heaters are constantly expanding and cooling down, which takes its toll. When the water heater reaches the end, cracks start to appear from all the expanding and cooling. And cracks = leaks.

Now that you know the facts, take action before the symptoms begin

The best way to make sure you never have to risk a cold shower is having the health of your water heater checked and maintained every six months. 

For over 20 years, Charlotte Mechanical has repaired and replaced many water heaters with our licensed and experienced plumbers. We can help answer any of your questions and give you expert advice on how to keep your water heater at optimal condition. 

And if you're someone who CHOOSES the whole cold shower thing? Hey, we’re not here to judge. (But we are shivering at the thought of it.)

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