When to Replace Your Water Heater

Hot water is a luxury that many of us take for granted, but when water heater troubles arise, laundry, dishes, and warm showers all get put on hold. It is important to know when your water heater is nearing the end of its life so that you don’t get left without hot water, and so that you can make plans ahead of time to replace it. 

The national average life of a conventional tank water heater is about 10 years, and up to 20 years for a tankless water heater. With proper maintenance, your water heater should make it to the end of its lifespan, or maybe even a few years past it. However, like everything in your home, at some point it will begin to fail with age, requiring replacement. 

How Old Is My Water Heater?

Before we can begin talking about when to replace your water heater, we need to know how old your water heater is. Maybe you remember exactly when your water heater was installed, but perhaps you have forgotten, or didn’t know the age of the water heater when you purchased your home. Whatever the case, having this information is very valuable! 

If you don’t know how old your water heater is, look for the manufacturer label on the side of your water heater. Most manufacturers include the “born on” date of the unit on this label. Usually, the installation date is listed on the label as well. If it is not, you can use the serial number to determine when it was manufactured. Go online to the manufacturer’s website and type in the serial number and model number, and you will find information on the age of your water heater. 

Signs It Is Time To Replace Your Water Heater 

If your tank water heater is nearing the 10-year mark, or if your tankless water heater is nearing the 20-year mark, we highly suggest considering replacement options now so that you aren’t forced to make a last-minute decision. If your water heater has not been properly maintained, there is a good chance it will begin to show signs of aging well before the end of its estimated lifespan. Keep reading to learn the signs of an aging water heater. 

Not Getting Enough Hot Water

Does the hot water no longer last to the end of your shower? Does it take longer for the water to heat up when washing dishes? Are you not able to take a hot shower after running your dishwasher or washing machine? If you answered yes to any of these questions, your water heater may not be producing enough hot water. Many people are tempted to adjust the temperature dial when they start to notice less hot water. We strongly encourage you to not set the temperature above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything above this temperature point, puts you at risk of scalding. If your temperature dial is set below 120 degrees Fahrenheit, this could be why you are not getting enough hot water. However, if you are gradually noticing less and less hot water, your water heater may be going out. 

Odd Noises

Overall, your water heater should not make much noise. If you are hearing odd noises, such as crackling, popping, or whining sounds, keep a close eye on it. A lot of these noises indicate sediment buildup, which can lead to a leak. The older your water heater is, the more common odd noises can be. Even newer water heaters can make strange noises, so don’t dismiss the noise just because your water heater is not close to the end of its lifespan. If you let the noises go on for too long, larger issues may develop. 


A leaking water heater should be addressed immediately. There are many causes of a leaking water heater. The best case would be that it’s just a connection issue. Worst case would be internal failure within the water heater. Leaks are much more common in older water heaters than newer ones. Rust, which leads to corrosion, is found more often in older water heaters. Corrosion creates small cracks in the water heater. You may even see corrosion on the outside of the water heater, which is a tell-tale sign it’s time to replace. It’s hard to tell you exactly what is causing the leak without having a plumber look at it. You should always have a leaking water heater inspected by a plumber as quickly as possible. The longer you leave it, the greater chance you have of water damage in your home, which can be very costly. 

Repair Versus Replacement 

If your water heater is nearing the end of its predicted lifespan but can be repaired, most of the time we will recommend investing the money you would have spent on repairs into a new water heater. The repair may not last as long as you would hope if the water heater is already close to the end of its lifespan, and new issues may arise soon after. With a newer model, you should even save money on your energy bills. 

Benefits of Replacing Your Water Heater Before It Fails 

Replacing your water heater before it goes out, gives you time to research different types of water heaters, which can save you money in the long run. If your water heater fails and you are forced to quickly decide on a new one, you may not have the time to consider your options and figure out what type of water heater will best suit your family and your home. You may miss out on promotions too! 

As we stated above, water heater leaks are more common in older units. In some cases, water heater leaks can cause home damage, so by replacing it before it fails, you may save yourself from costly home repairs. You also may save yourself from going days without hot water. 

If you are asking yourself, should I replace my water heater, contact us today for a free estimate on a new water heater! It never hurts to find out your opinions and have a plan in place. Our friendly plumbers would be happy to talk with you about different options and help you figure out what is best for your home and family. We will send over a licensed plumber who will fully inspect your system, provide a free estimate on a new, energy-efficient water heater, and go over current promotions! 

Contact Stan’s to schedule your water heater replacement in Austin today! 

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