When should you replace your hot water heater?

Published On: May 3, 2015Categories: Uncategorized, Water Heaters

The decision to replace your home’s hot water heater may be made for you, when the unit fails. You need time to choose wisely, so waiting until catastrophic failure, such as a flood from a ruptured tank, is not wise. Recognize the four signs of the need for a new water heater and your careful planning will bring you an energy-efficient, reasonably priced water heater that provides years of trouble-free service.


Water heaters last between ten and 15 years. Without regard to brand or manufacturers’ claims, water heaters do not last far beyond that range. Failure may be in as little as eight years when water conditions are harsh or the water heater is in a corrosive environment. You may be fortunate to eek out 17 years of service, but you are wasting energy and money on an inefficient heater.

Heaters build up scale, or mineral deposits, over time. These reduce your heater’s ability to efficiently convert electricity or gas into heat, and cost you money.

Modern heaters, especially Energy Star-certified models, use 14 to 55 percent less electricity than older models, can produce hot water some 20 percent more efficiently, and can save thousands in gas or electricity costs over their lifetime.

Water Condition

Run the hot water in your tub and check its color. Rust-colored water means rust in the tank, and a need for replacement. If the water has an odor, looks muddy, or has a lot of sediment in it, your tank is likely to fail soon.

Another test, and a little less pleasant, is to taste the water. If the hot water tastes metallic, the lining of your hot water heater is sloughing (breaking down) and is likely to leak soon.


As your heater gets to be a teenager, check the room in which it sits and look for leaks along the side of the heater, at the circular base, and on the floor. If you see a leak, turn off electricity to the heater and, if gas-fired, turn off the gas.


A properly functioning water heater is nearly silent. Sometimes you will hear a gurgle, but these sounds spell trouble:

  • cracks or pops
  • clanging
  • whining

Sometimes this is just sediment burning off the heating element, but sometimes this is caused when the heating element is burning itself up. In either case, the sediment and deteriorating element mean replacement is imminent.

We are experts when it comes to hot water heaters. We carry a full line of conventional hot water tanks as well as the newer tankless hot water heaters. What’s more, we have more than 20 highly trained technicians servicing all of Northeast Ohio in trucks equipped with GPS systems – we could literally be right around the corner!

When you call The Plumbing Source, you’ve made the right call! Call us at 877-768-7239.

Plumbing emergency? We respond any time!

Find out more about The Plumbing Source’s comprehensive plumbing, drain and sewer services.