We use it everyday for various things, but we never think about it. Yet if your water heater stops working, we immediately notice. Your water heater is essential to your happiness, whether for your 7 AM blistering-hot wake-up shower, your post-work relaxation baths, or letting the dishes soak before you wash them.

If you lost your hot water, it would be a personal disaster. But you’ve had your hot water heater for years and haven’t had any problems. In fact, you can’t even remember when you had your water heater installed.

Knowing when to replace hot water tank isn’t always apparent. You know it doesn’t last forever, but you have no idea how long they’re supposed to stick around.

Your Hot Water Tank Should Be Replaced Every 8-12 Years

The average lifespan of a hot water tank is between 8-12 years if it’s high-quality, was properly installed, and has been properly taken care of since installation. An early sign that tells you it’s time to replace your water heater is if your hot water is only lukewarm.

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This might not seem like a long time, but a hot water tank always has hot water in it, waiting for you to need it. That means that for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, your hot water tank is in use. When something is used consistently, it eventually wears down and needs to be replaced. In the case of a hot water tank, the problem is rust.

Rusty Water Tanks Lead to Water Damage

That ever-present water carries minerals that cause corrosion within the tank. Normally, an anode rod in the tank will attract those particles and keep your tank in great shape. But when the anode rod is worn out, the minerals will start eating away at the tank lining. While these minerals are not harmful to us, they will take a toll on the tank, particularly the tank’s bottom.

When a tank’s bottom rusts out, there’s nothing keeping the water inside. Water starts pouring out at an alarming rate, and because it’s connected to your water supply, it won’t stop until you shut off the water to your tank. You’re left with significant property damage and a huge, costly mess to clean up.

A Tankless Water Heater Can Last As Long as 20 Years

Navien tankless water heater

By contrast, a tankless water heater doesn’t hold nearly as much water because it only heats it as we need it. This means that a tankless water heater will last longer than a water tank. In fact, some tankless water heaters can last as long as 20 years with the proper care. We recommend you install Navien tankless water heaters.

Tip: Now is the perfect time to reevaluate what kind of water heater you need. Check out our guide to help you make your decision >

Is Your Hot Water Heater Getting Up There in Years?

If you’ve been asking yourself, “When should I replace my hot water heater?” then now is the perfect time to check. All you have to do is look at the manufacturer’s sticker on your water heater. If the date of installation isn’t on the sticker, write down the serial number. Often the manufacturing date and year the water heater was built is included in the serial number. It just takes a bit of decoding to figure out.

Depending on the brand of water heater, the date will be arranged differently. When in doubt, call us to help you figure it out.

Other Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Water Heater

It’s not just age that signals the end of a water heater’s life. If you see any of these other signs, call us to book a hot water heater repair or replacement.

1. Discoloured Water

There are several reasons that your water may become discoloured, and one of them is that you need a water heater replacement.

When you see rusty water, first check where it’s coming from. If you turn on the cold water and it runs clear, but the hot water is discoloured, that’s an indicator that your water heater tank is at fault.

Call us to come and flush out your hot water heater. If, after a thorough cleaning, the water is still discoloured, we’ll give you some recommendations on replacing it.

2. It’s Making Odd Noises

Houses make noise, especially if they’re older homes. But most homeowners can tell the difference between a regular noise vs. one that signals something’s wrong with your hot water heater.

Your water heater could be the source of a whole strange-noise orchestra of creaks, bangs, clunking, and rumbling noises. These types of loud water heater noises occur when there’s a significant sediment buildup in your water heater tank. If there’s enough sediment to cause noises, it’s also likely that your heating functions have been compromised.

Luckily, after over 40 years, we’ve learned a thing or two about all the strange noises that can occur. If your hot water heater starts talking to you, we’ll figure out what the problem is and provide some solutions.

3. You’re Experiencing Leaks

A leaking water heater is bad, and not just for the heater itself. It could cause water damage to other parts of your home, or drive up your water bill if running water is left unchecked.

We recommend making a regular inspection of your water heater for any leaks. If you find one, call us immediately to come help.

Tip: Leaks most often apply to hot water tanks. Tankless water heaters have a shut off valve if something is wrong.

4. Too Many Water Heater Repairs

Regular maintenance of hot water heaters will certainly prolong their life span, but as an old water heater begins to break down, the costs of repair start to add up. 

Older water heaters become less energy efficient as they age, and at a certain point it becomes more cost effective to replace your water heater than to continue using one that will rack up more and more repair bills.

5. No Hot Water

A clear sign that something is wrong with your water heater is if it’s not doing its one job of heating water. If it’s reaching the end of its life expectancy, there’s a good chance that the sediment buildup has gotten to the point where it’s acting as a barrier between the burner and the water, so your water heater fails to properly complete the heating cycle.

6. High Water Bills

If you haven’t noticeably increased your hot water usage, but are dealing with higher utility bills than usual, it might be caused by your water heater leaking. 

Another reason could simply be the end of your water heater’s life span—most water heaters will last a decade or so. 

A professional opinion can help you decide whether it’s time to replace the water heater, or if there’s still some life left in the appliance.

Should I Replace My Water Heater Before It Fails?

Many people don’t fix something until it’s broken. But when it comes to your water heater, you don’t want to wait until you wake up one morning and discover you’re going to be having ice baths for the foreseeable future.

So how do you find out you should get a new water heater before it fails? An annual maintenance check will give you a better idea of the condition of your water heater.

That’s right: your water heater needs some annual TLC too! Not only will you be able to get expert advice on when to replace your water heater, but a tuneup will actually extend its life, and help it run more efficiently!

Tip: A great time to schedule water heater maintenance is before winter really sets in, because you can winterize it at the same time >

We’ll Get You the Perfect New Hot Water Heater

We know it’s stressful and frustrating to turn the tap and find no hot water. If you find yourself in that situation, or know that it’s time to replace your hot water heater, talk to us. We’ll be able to provide you with all the information and services you need to get your hot water back.

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