Most of us have hot water heaters in our homes, either owned or rented. Either way, you can have a serious problem if it wears out and leaks. The average tank lasts around 12-15 years, but I have a friend whose newer hot water tank literally exploded. I have another friend, a Twitter pal, who posted yesterday that his tank had leaked 50 gallons of water into the basement. Who needs that kind of hassle?
My rental company won’t send a technician out to check to see if a tank is due for replacement until it’s already leaking. By then, it’s too late.
Well, here’s a tip on how to check your hot water heater to see if you might need a new one. It’s not going to cover all situations, but it will give you a clue to its condition.
First thing in the morning, before you have a bath or a shower, turn on your hot water tap. You want to make sure the water in the tank has been sitting overnight, so don’t turn on any other taps, just this one, and do it first.
Look at the colour of the water; it should be clear, not muddy. Now turn it off and turn on the cold water. If the hot water is not as clear as the cold water, it probably has iron in it from the tank rusting out. And that’s when you should call a technician. Fast. Some HVAC companies will check it for you; so will your plumber.
A rusted out hot water tank can leak; it can also build up steam and explode the way my friend’s did. The steam it creates can literally take the roof off your house. Don’t wait until it’s too late!