There she blows!

Hot water heaters are kind of like whales…  

  • They are big

  • They can hold lots of water, and

  • They can release lots of water into the air

While it’s great fun to go whale watching and see a whale spouting (I’ve seen one off the coast of Maine)

It’s not fun to see water spewing from a busted hot water heater.

The best way to prevent a blow out of your water heater is to watch & listen for these signs:

  • There’s rust on the outside of the heater

  • The hot water has a rusty color to it

  • There’s a knocking noise in the tank when the heater kicks on

  • It takes longer than normal to get hot water

Additionally, you want to check the age of your hot water heater.  If you have access to your home inspection report from when you bought your home, you can find the date in that report. If that’s not handy there is a “secret” code on the heater which displays the year, month and sometimes the week it was manufactured.  

To figure out the code on your specific hot water heater google “how to determine the age of (insert your hot water heater’s brand) hot water heater”.  


Use the number in the right corner – serial part number. Then I used the google method and discovered it was manufactured the 5th week of January 2015.  With that information, this tank should be good for at least another 3 years but something to start watching for signs of wear and tear over the next few years.

If you want to avoid having a blowout with your water heater, consider replacing it after 8 years as the average lifespan is 8-12 years. The average cost of a professionally installed hot water heater is $800-1,200. If you’re a DIYer you can save yourself some money on the installation. Either option is considerably less than what it will cost in money, time & hassle if it springs a leak or even if it dies on its own.  

And no one likes waking up and having to take a cold shower when the water heater has died.  

If it’s less than 5 years old put a tag in your calendar to check it once a year for any of the tall tale signs of it wearing out and potentially springing a leak!  And consider marking the unit with the year installed as an easy reminder as well.

If you want to know more about my whale watching experience reach out to me. It was an amazing experience. If you need a referral to install a new hot water tank, I’m here to help with that as well! 

Hi, there!

I'm Nancy and I love helping homeowners who have outgrown their current home and are ready to buy a new home but don’t know where to start. Let me know how I can help you make your real estate dreams come true. 

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Arlington, VA 22203

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