The Unit is AT LEAST 10 Years Old
If your water heater is more than 10 years old, it’s time to start looking for a new water heater. If you aren’t sure how old your device is, you can easily find out the service date by looking at its first three characters.
In other words, the first character in your serial number (J) will tell you the month of manufacture. Since J corresponds with the 10th month of the year, that would be October. (2011) is indicated by the following two characters. So “J11” means you bought your water heater in October 2011. A leak or failure may occur in anything that is older than 2006.
Rusty Hot Water
You’ll know your water heater is basically rotting away from the inside if you turn on the hot water and it comes out rusty and metallic. But, before you jump the gun and buy a new unit, there’s an easy way to make sure the rust is actually coming from your water heater and not just your pipes.
Check by draining three buckets full of water from your water heater (be very cautious because the water will be extremely hot); if the water still comes out rusty by the third bucket, the problem is not your pipes and you need to get a new water heater.
A Noisy Hot Water Heater
Indiana has a serious problem with hard water. Water heaters need to be flushed regularly so that sediment does not build on the bottom. This solid mass of buildup will not only create banging and rumbling sounds — which are essentially your water heater’s cries for help — but it will also keep your unit from running efficiently and potentially cause leaks.
A Leaking Unit
If you notice that there is a puddle under your water heater, you might as well bid it farewell. It’s possible that the leak is not coming from a connector, fitting, or pipe, in which case your tank is likely fractured and in need of replacement.