Contributed by North County Property Group
The water heater is one of the most important appliances in a rental property. Tenants depend on the hot water system for warm water to meet many of their crucial daily needs. On average, a typical tenant will need varying degrees of warm water around twenty times in a single day. Maintaining this appliance in the best condition is critical for your tenant’s wellbeing.
Water heaters in a rental are put under a lot of pressure and prone to damage. Being able to respond to the issues with speed is vital if you want to avoid a breakdown in your relationship with tenants. But the problems with a water heater can become so frequent that repairing the unit is no longer effective. When this happens, the best option is to replace the water heater.
How can you tell when it is time to replace the water heater in your rental property?
The average lifespan of a water heater
A water heater will last anywhere between eight and thirteen years, depending on several factors. Things that affect the water heater’s longevity are the type of water heater, the water heater manufacturer, the quality of installation, how well the system is maintained, and the demand on the system.
Some of the events which can lead to the failure of the water heater in your rental property are:
Possible reasons for water heater failure
- Internal corrosion
Ordinarily, the anode (highly active metal rod) inside the water heater will protect it from rust. This rod, referred to as “sacrificial anode”, attracts corrosive particles, which can damage the heater. But over time, the rod becomes corroded to a point where it can no longer carry out this function. When this happens, the corrosive particles will settle at the bottom of the heater and start to destroy its lining.
- Sediment buildup
Water naturally contains a lot of dissolved and suspended minerals. When water enters a water heater and is heated, its mineral content separates and settles at the bottom of the heater tank. Sediment buildup impedes the heater’s ability to heat water efficiently and will eventually damage the appliance. This problem is common in areas with hard water.
- Excessive water pressure
Water heaters are designed to endure a certain level of water pressure and no more. When the water pressure in a home exceeds that level it exposes the heater to an increased risk of damage. One of the ways to tell if a water heater is being subject to high water pressure is when the overflow pipe leaks.
- Poor indoor air quality
Water heaters depend on the air inside a home for the oxygen it needs to heat water. If indoor air contains corrosive substances, these can be drawn into the water heater and corrosive fumes can damage some of the parts of the water heater including the burner assembly.
- Wrong heater size
Water heaters are built in different sizes to accommodate various water usage demands. If the water heater in a home is too small for the demand placed on it, the system will be overworked. Overworked water heaters will break down more often and reach the end of their life faster.
- Old age
A water heater at the end of its life expectancy will start to malfunction, regardless of how well it has been maintained. Good maintenance can help the system last longer but this is only for a limited period of time.
Signs that your water heater is due for replacement
Trying to repair a water heater when it should be replaced will not only cost you more money, it will put your rental property business at risk. How will you know when the issues with a water heater can no longer be solved by fixing the heater?
- Insufficient hot water volume
Sometimes the water heater will still manage to produce some hot water but not in the required quantities. If the water heater suddenly starts delivering lukewarm water to the tenants in your rental home, it is failing and should be replaced.
- Rust-colored water
If the inside of a water heater has rusted out, it will produce hot water with a reddish tint. Bathing with this type of water may not hurt a tenant but most renters will not be happy about it.
- Too many repair requests
If you are getting a lot of repair requests from tenants over the heater, it may be time to replace it. You may still need to do this even if you think you can repair the system. This is because calling a landlord frequently over the same issue can be frustrating for tenants.
- Increasing energy bills
If the energy bill for the home is increasing, the water heater may be using up too much power. A water heater that has lost its efficiency will need to consume more energy to deliver the same quantity of hot water it used to supply in the past.
There you have it. Signs to look out for when it’s time to change your water heater.