Home Ownership.  It's the American Dream, right?  The problem is no one really prepares you for all of the hidden costs that you are going to run into along the way.

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For nearly 15 years, I have been with the same homeowners' insurance company and never had to file a claim.  But due to a renegade washing machine, and the wind storm that tore through our area a couple of weeks back, I have now filed claims for a new ceiling in my living room, and to have my roof replaced.

So, at this point, I figured... 'well, that's all the year is going to throw at me, we should be good to go now'.  Wrong.  I came home last night to find water dripping out of the bottom of my hot water heater. So we busted out the towels and the shop-vac and proceeded to clean things up, at 11 pm on St. Patrick's day.  The American Dream.

After doing some research, it turns out that my hot water heater was manufactured in 2007, and had exceeded its expected shelf life by a couple of years.  Needless to say, I was living on borrowed time.  Most of the units, with proper maintenance, will last 6 to 12 years.

So what are the signs that you may be due for a new tank?  Here are a few things to look for.

1. It's just plain old.  If your tank is more than 10 years old, you may want to look into replacing it.  The manufacture date can usually be found on a sticker on the unit.

2. You can see rust spots around the bottom of the tank.  The rust on the outside bottom of the tank could mean that the metal lining has completely corroded through the tank and its time for a new one.

3. There's water pooling on the floor at the base of the unit.  This means that there is most likely a crack inside the tank, and you are at risk of a full rupture.  Such was the case with my tank.  Time to replace the tank immediately.

4. It's making funny noises.  As the tank ages, sediment builds up inside, and hardens when the water is heated, making rumbling noises.  A sure sign that a new tank is needed.

5. You’re getting rusty water out of the tap.  Water + metal will eventually lead to corrosion.  So if the water is running rusty, it might be time to refer back to #1 on this list.

As always, it's a good idea to check your water heater’s warranty for the most accurate timelines for replacement.

Hot Water Heater Replacement

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