Your home’s water heater isn’t something you spend much time thinking about, but when it breaks, the whole family suffers for it. What’s worse, depending on how your water heater breaks, a lack of hot water might not be your only issue. Failed water heaters can make a serious mess and create the need for some expensive repairs, too. Here are some of the biggest reasons why you should have your water heater serviced regularly rather than replacing it when it breaks.
Hot water plays an important role in your home, and if you have children and/or pets, this is doubly true. Hot water is important for a variety of tasks, including bathing or showering, cleaning your home, and even ensuring the dishes get clean when you wash them. While it may not seem like a big deal to have no hot water for a while, it’s actually a lot tougher than you might think. Having your water heater serviced regularly can reduce the risk of a complete failure that leaves you and your family in the cold.
Not having hot water can take a toll on your home’s comfort, hygiene, and sanitation, but depending on the issue, your home - and even your family - might actually be in danger. First, if your water heater begins to leak due to age and the effects of hard water, it can cause thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in damage. There are also a few cases in which a broken water heater might actually cause physical injury - such as when the pressure release valve fails or there’s a crack that’s gone unnoticed inside the tank itself.
Imagine taking a nice, warm shower one day only for the water to suddenly turn an interesting shade of brown and take on the odor of rotten eggs. Though it isn’t the most common issue homeowners experience with their water heaters, it can and does happen - but it can also be avoided. These two symptoms - discoloration and odor - are usually the result of a thriving colony of bacteria inside the heater’s tank. Your water heater has an anode rod inside it that’s designed to kill off bacteria, and it can sometimes fail. Fortunately, it can be replaced by a professional.
Finally, the most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to continuing to use a water heater until it simply stops working or fails is that small issues (a failed thermocouple or broken anode rod, for example) are relatively inexpensive fixes when compared to replacing the entire unit. If your water heater is less than 10 years old, it’s important to schedule a repair quickly. On the other hand, if your unit is more than 10 years old, it is likely time to consider installing a new one at the first sign of trouble.
The best way to prevent any serious issues resulting from a bad water heater involves hiring a professional to inspect it and calling for repairs as soon as you notice an issue. If the water heater is over a decade old, though, you might find that simply replacing it is the best, most economical, and safest option of them all.