We get several water damage calls a month that resulted from hot water heaters.  Whether it be a slow leak or a complete rupture, the amount of water damage can be catastrophic.  So, why do water heaters fail and is there anything the we can do to prevent failure?

  1. Age–the average life span of a hot water heater is between 10-15 years.  If you are nearing the 15 year mark with your hot water heater, you may want to consider replacing it.  Check the unit to see if there are any other signs of aging.
  2. Sediment buildup–Minerals in water separate when water heats and tend to settle at the bottom of hot water heaters.  Excess build up can reduce the efficiency of your water heater and can lead to damage.  It is a good idea to flush out your water heater at least once a year especially if you have hard water issues.
  3. Incorrect water pressure–When water pressure is too high, it can overwork and damage you unit causing it to wear out sooner.  It is recommended to keep your water pressure no higher than 80 psi.
  4. Wrong sized heater–Having a water heater too small for your home or your water usage needs, can overwork the unit again, causing it to age and wear out sooner.  Consult with an expert before installing a new water heater in your home to make sure you select the right size for your home.

If you suspect any problems with your hot water heater, do not ignore the signs.  Replacing your unit may seem expensive, but it can save you the headache of water damage in your home.  We can’t prevent all damage that can happen to our homes, but taking a few minutes to look around could be worth it.