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3 Signs it’s Time to Replace Your Water Heater


This Maryland winter has been rather mild so far, but the coldest, windiest and snowiest month is still ahead of us. This would be a bad time for your water heater to fail! But regardless of your hopes and wishes, an old water heater that is bound to fail WILL fail no matter how well you maintain it. It’s important to know the signs of imminent failure, so that you can choose, purchase and install a timely replacement. As Maryland plumbers, we are here to today to help you identify these important signs.

Rust in Water

Rusty flakes in your water could also come from galvanized pipes or other equipment, such as a well pump or water storage tank. However, if the rust is only present in hot water, that’s a good sign that it’s time for a water heater replacement. To make sure, you can turn off power to the appliance, get a bucket and drain the water from the water heater tank to check if it’s indeed rusty. When your water heater begins to rust from the inside out, this means it’s not long until it will develop leaks. And you definitely want to find a replacement before that happens.

Water Under the Water Heater

If you find a puddle around your water heater, it’s definitely something to worry about. However, water under or around your water heater doesn’t always mean that the appliance has to go. Sometimes connections come loose, seals break and rubber pipes deteriorate. Check those first to find the source of the water. If it’s the tank leaking, diagnosing the issue and finding the crack or hole can be tricky. Cracks and holes in a water heater are not always obvious and can be rather tiny. They expand as the appliance heats up, allowing the water through, and then seal shut again as the water heater cools down. But it’s nothing an experienced Baltimore plumber can’t diagnose.

Popping Noises

A sediment buildup at the bottom of your water heater tank may cause it to make popping sounds similar to what a pot of boiling water sounds like. It’s not a big problem if it’s addressed by regularly draining the tank and removing the sediment. However, if the sediment is never removed, it will eventually solidify and form a hard layer at the bottom of your water heater. Not only will this reduce the capacity of the tank, but it may also affect temperature readings, causing the appliance to work harder and constantly overheat. If you inherited an old water heater from the previous homeowner, it’s worth getting it checked out by a professional to figure out how well it was maintained.

Here is a video demonstrating this popping sound we’ve described above.

Installing a New Water Heater

If your water heater is a good candidate for replacement and your Maryland plumber confirms it, now is the time to decide which new unit you should get. You might even consider hooking it up yourself, but we’d like to caution you against it. If you are replacing an old appliance that’s been in your home for 10-15 years or longer, water heater installation can get complex. You may be required to comply with the new building codes, update your supply pipes, upgrade the water heater mount and make other necessary changes. Michael Runk Plumbing and Heating is here to help you do all this fast and efficiently! We install, repair and service water heaters all the time, and will be happy to show you how to maintain your appliance to prolong its lifetime.

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