Water heaters here in the Albuquerque and Rio Rancho area typically last between 8-12 years. When they get old one of the first signs that something is wrong is a water heater leak. The life span of your water heater depends on a few things like, how often it is used (typically a large family will have a water heater expire sooner), if it’s drained and flushed periodically and if re-circ pump connected to it or not.
Whether you live in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Corrales, Placitas, Bernalillo or any of the surrounding areas we have all experienced hard water issues. The water here contains calcium and magnesium in varying levels depending on where you live. These elements are drawn out of the water when it’s heated and settle at the bottom of your water heater causing the water heater to become less efficient and causing a popping/bubbling sound when it’s heating. This sediment can speed up the breakdown of the glass lining inside your water heater tank which is there to protect the steel tank causing a water heater leak.
If your water heater is not the “self-cleaning” type then flushing the water heater every 6 month or so can help stop sediment buildup.
A re-circ pump pumps water from the water heater around a house loop and then back to the water heater. Heat is lost on this journey and colder water returns to the tank. This makes the water heater turn on and off a lot more often throughout the day putting more wear and tear on the unit. Typically water heaters with a re-circ pump expire 1-4 years sooner than one without.
So what are the signs that your water heater is getting old and may be about to leak? The popping and bubbling sound is a good sign that sediment has built up too much in the water heater. Look for signs of rust or water staining around the top of the water heater where the hot and cold connections are. Examine the temperature and pressure valve where it screws into the tank for rust or water staining as well as the drain down valve at the bottom of the unit. If you see any staining like this it means the water heater has already started leaking.
Central Plumbing can have a technician visit your home to look over the water heater, give more advice and options for water heater repair or replacement. Don’t forget to read this article before having a water heater installed.