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Signs your Water Heater is Failing and Tips for Finding a Replacement

There are certain surprises in life that we love; a flooded basement isn’t one of them. Fortunately, there are signs to let you know it may be time to replace your water heater before it floods your basement and damages your home. In this month’s blog, the home comfort specialists at Main Stream Mechanical share five signs that your water heater is failing, and how to choose a replacement.



5 Signs your Water Heater is Failing A broken water heater makes everyday routines a hassle. Lookout for these warning signs so you can determine if you need to install a new one:


1 - Old Age The lifespan of a hot water heater is approximately 8-10 years. Not sure how old your unit is? The serial number, located on the upper portion of the water heater, contains a date code that indicates the year it was manufactured.

2 - Higher Energy Bills Hot water accounts for most of the heating energy used in your home. An aging hot water heater will work inefficiently, causing your utility bills to rise.

3 - Change in Appearance or Taste Rusty-looking hot water from your faucet indicates the inside of your storage tank is corroding. Additionally, sandy or muddy-looking water, or water with a metallic taste or smell, requires attention.

4 - Water Stains White stains on your dishes is a sign of hard water, and could mean scale deposits are building up in your tank. Mineral buildup makes your system less efficient.

5 - Unusual Noises As water heaters get older, sediment builds up on the bottom of the tanks. Gurgling or growling noises coming from your water storage tank are usually a sign of sediment buildup.

Choosing a Water Heater – Avoid the Time Trap

The key to buying the right water heater is to do your research before it breaks. Many homeowners buy a new heater when their current one fails. Feeling the pressure to put in a system quickly, they don’t take the time to understand their options, and may end up paying more than they should. Do your research now, so you can make an informed decision, should you end up with a water heater emergency. Here are three water heater variables to consider:


Type Each type of water heater uses a different method to produce hot water: Conventional Storage units heats incoming cold water, then transfers the heated water to a tank. The reservoir stores the hot water and releases it when the tap is turned on.

Tankless or On-Demand Heaters heat water only when a hot water faucet is turned on, instead of constantly maintaining a reserve of hot water. Indirect Water Heaters are integrated into a home’s heating system and use heat from a boiler to warm the water. Indirect water heaters maintain the hot water in a storage tank.


Size Once you’ve selected the type of water heater you’d like, determine the size needed to meet the demands of your household. As the second most energy-consuming appliance in the average household, it’s vital to select the correct size heater for your home. With an incorrectly-sized water heater, you could waste hundreds of dollars every year. Remember to take into consideration your family’s growth and change, planning for both your current and future needs.


Efficiency Finally, before you purchase a unit, check its energy efficiency rating so you can maximize your energy and cost savings. A water heater’s efficiency is measured by its Energy Factor. The Energy Factor measures the quantity of hot water the unit produces per unit of fuel it consumes. A higher energy factor means a more efficient water heater.


Water Heater Installation, Maintenance, and Repair in NH and MA

If you are uncertain about the condition of your hot water heater, contact our home comfort specialists. We have been installing and servicing water heaters for over 35 years and can help you find the right product and install it correctly and efficiently. We service many locations across Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire including Haverhill, Amesbury, Newburyport, Rowley, Topsfield, and Boxford.


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Main Stream Mechanical

25 Macy Street, Suite C

Amesbury, MA 01913

978-834-0849   |   877-800-HVAC

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About Main Stream

Main Stream Mechanical, Inc. is a full-service plumbing, heating, and air conditioning company. We service a large portion of Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire.