Just last week I was in Crystal Lake doing a home inspection for a newly married couple that were watching every penny.  They were extremely excited about the fact that they soon would be homeowners but were concerned with repair or replacement costs that may come up on their home inspection in Crystal Lake, Illinois.  They new that the roof was newer, the heating and air conditioner was just put in and the electric was already updated recently.  The question they had for me was the age of the Rheem water heater, how many years did it have left and how much would it cost to replace.

I’ll show you what to look for on a water heater to tell how many years you may have.  These tests are the tests I showed my clients from the Crystal Lake home inspection on their Rheem water heater.  You should know that water heaters have a lifespan of 10-12 years in the best conditions.  It seems that water heaters built 20 years ago were built to last longer.  Just an observation.

  • Listen to your water heater and if you hear popping then their is a good chance that your dip tube is cracked and you have turbulence inside the heater.  Traditionally the hot water is sitting in the top of the tank and the cold is shuttled to the bottom of the storage tank where the burner is located to heat it and send it to the fixture in need.  If there is a popping noise then the dip tube has deteriorated and you can either have the dip tube replaced or replace the whole water heater.  The next test tells if the dip tube has deteriorated.
  • Removal of the aeratorat the kitchen sink or the bathroom sink will determine if there is a deteriorated dip tube in your water heater.  When you take of the aerator you will see white particles in the screen of the aerator.  If there are alot of particles then you may have to replace your water heater.  The water heater from the Crystal Lake home inspection had a deteriorated dip tube that was seemed to be completely gone.
  • Inspection of the bottom of the water heater is where you may see rust on the storage tank.  Water staining can be seen in this area also and will determine the length of life of the water heater.  If you see a rusting storage tank or water staining then you may want to prepare for replacing your water heater.

So my clients from the Crystal Lake home inspection had a Rheem water heater that was on its last leg.  The Rheem water heater last 13 years which was better than the average.  My clients where concerned with pricing for a replacement water heater.  Water heaters can vary in pricing depending on size and what type of fuel they function on.  I believe natural gas water heaters are better because the cost of natural gas is so much cheaper than electric.  Some areas in the United States don’t have access to natural gas so electric is your only choice.  The Crystal Lake Home inspection had a 50 gallon natural gas Rheem water heater that I estimate can be replaced by a licensed plumbing contractor for $850.00.

Hopefully you learned what to look for while searching for your new home.  If you have further questions on what to look for on your water heater then contact me at The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thank for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke

I believe a home inspection should be a period that we inspect your choice in home or property but I really believe in empowering my clients by educating them on how their home works.  More importantly, I want to educate them on what to look for when systems in a home may have possible issues and what to do when these systems fail.  Recently, I was hired for a home inspection in Tinley Park, Illinois.  My clients were concerned on the mechanical systems age, cost to replace, and life expectancy.

The air conditioner unit is generally inspected first due to the fact that is on the exterior of the home.  The air conditioner manufacturer was a Carrier that happened to be 11 years old.  The age of the air conditioner was not alarming.  Generally, air conditioner units have a life expectancy of over 20 years.  The cost for replacement starts from $1500.00 for a 1 ton unit to $7000.00 for a 5 ton unit.  The Tinley Park home inspection had no apparent issues on the air conditioning system.  You can see an actual air conditioner inspection at ~ http://www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com/watchaninspection.html.

The next mechanical system I inspected at the Tinley Park home inspection was the heating system.  The heating system is composed of a furnace, duct work, thermostat, and humidifier.  All of these items are major components that need to be in good working order for a heating system.  The furnace at the Tinley Park home inspection was also a Carrier that happened to be the same age as the air conditioner.  This is not uncommon to see that the furnace and air conditioner are the same age.  We see a lot of split systems being the same age because you can save money replacing the furnace and air conditioner at the same time.  A furnace life expectancy is 25 years with annual maintenance.  The cost to replace a furnace depends on if you purchase a high efficient unit or a 80% unit.  You can see prices of furnaces at ~ http://www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com/repair-replacement-costs.html.

The water heater was the next mechanical system I inspected at the Tinley Park home inspection.  The property had a 6 year old 50 gallon Rheem water heater.  I inspected the tank and burners to see if there was any rusting on the tank that can lead to the demise of the water heater.  Water heaters life expectancy is 12 years.  If you get more than 12 years you are lucky.  To replace a 40 gallon water heater you can plan on spending between $550.00 – $750.00 depending on piping materials, ease of installation and location in the country you reside.

Hopefully this helps consumers understand what to look for when searching for a home.  If you have any questions please contact me at ~ http://www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com/about-jim-kolke.html.

Thanks for stopping by.  Jim Kolke