03 Dec

Water Heater Aging: How Old Is It, Anyway?

  • Karen Mares
  • Comments Off on Water Heater Aging: How Old Is It, Anyway?

Is your water heater aging? How old is it, anyway? It can be difficult to determine, especially if you have recently purchased an older home and have inherited it. If you find that your water heater is behaving in a way that gives you pause, there are steps you can take to give it a little extra life and increase its efficiency and safety. 

How Old Is It? Water Heater Aging Explained:

First, let’s figure out how old the heater is. Check the rating plate on the heater body. It may look like ancient hieroglyphs, but there is a method to the madness:

water heater aging label with explanationsBlue arrow: Model Number

Green arrow: Serial Number

Purple arrow: Input – refers to BTU’s. BTU is the amount of energy needed to cool or heat one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. This water heater has 40,000 BTU’s input per hour.

Yellow arrow: Type of water heater

RED ARROW: Date of manufacture.

This is step one to unraveling the mystery of your water heater.

Water heaters are warrantied for various lengths of time. Casey’s warranties on water heaters are the best in the business, so if you decide it’s time for a new heater, we want to be the first company you think of. 

But let’s not throw out the old one quite yet!

You’ve now determined your water heater’s vital statistics. Let’s take a look at the possibilities for the strange noises and behaviors it may be exhibiting:

What Is it Doing?

  1. Bubbling sound – the likely culprit is mineral buildup on the bottom of the tank. The most common mineral that builds up on the bottom of tanks is lime. That sound you hear is likely water bubbling up from pockets of mineral deposits in its way. Portland residents who get their water from Bull Run have soft water, so mineral deposits don’t accumulate as quickly as hard water regions. Beaverton and Lake Oswego also have softer water, so buildup in these regions is slower. However, we recommend flushing out your water heater at least annually. This removes sediment buildup from the bottom of the tank.
  2. Rotten egg smell – sulfate-producing bacteria in the water can give off that rotten egg smell. While it’s annoying, it’s not harmful. The quickest fix for this is to temporarily heat the water past 140 degrees. For safety and efficiency reasons turning the temperature back down to 120 is a best practice.
  3. Other bizarre noises – this could be your heating element, or thermocoupler on a natural gas water tank. It’s possible to replace your heating element without having to replace the entire water heater. 
  4. Leaking – Unfortunately, a leaking water heater is the end of the line. Standing water under your tank requires immediate attention from a professional before flooding causes damage to your home.

We are here to help! If you have any questions regarding water heater aging and how best to care for it, give us a call. We can answer questions over the phone, we can come out to your location and do an inspection, and we can perform maintenance on your water heater system, helping you extend its life. If you decide that it’s time for a new water heater, Casey’s proudly installs Bradford White Water Heaters.

  • Westside (Beaverton, Lake Oswego, Tigard and surrounding areas:) 503-620-9111
  • Eastside (Gresham, Troutdale, West Linn and surrounding areas:) 503-253-0030

About Karen Mares

A Portlander born and raised, Karen lives in Southwest Portland with her husband and children. Karen has kept journals throughout her life, and she began her personal blog, Random Thoughts From A Suburban Mom in 2007. She hasn't stopped writing online since, channeling her passion for words and information into writing and communicating through social media and blogging.