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How to Know When You Need A New Water Heater

water heater

Replacing a new water heater can be a daunting decision. However, the average homeowner can use warm water multiple times a day. We use it to have warm showers, brush our teeth, run a laundry cycle, a dishwashing cycle, and up to cooking three times a day - and that’s just basic use. When you have children or pets, your warm water use doubles as well.

It’s good to become aware of when to replace your water heater. This helps protect your family’s use of safe water, along with preserving the quality of your home.

To make it easier, here’s everything you need to know to help you decide if it’s time to replace your water heater.

Signs It’s Time You Need A New Water Heater

Water is Not Heating

If you notice that your water isn’t heating up enough, this is one of the easiest ways to tell if the lifespan of the water heater is coming to an end. The loss of heat can be caused by a broken thermostat, a broken heating element, hot and cold connections crossing over, or an undersized tank for the size of your home. All of which can be solved by considering a quick call to your local water heater service.

Leaking Water Heater

When you start to notice small leaks under your water heater, it’s a good time to consider replacement. Depending on where your water heater is located within your home, larger leaks can instigate a bigger problem - property damage. The less time you allow your water heater to leak, the more savings you will have.

Metal expansions (especially on aging water heaters) can happen over time. As thousands of heating cycles happen, the metal lifespan becomes shorter. As metal expands, the water heater starts to have a harder time holding the water within the tank. When it’s having a harder time, leaking can begin to formulate.

Rusty Inlet Valve, Rusty Water

When you notice rust coming out of faucets within your home, also consider checking possible rust around the water inlet or pressure relief valve on the water heater. Although steel is the ideal material for water heaters, it can corrode over time. This corrosion can be inevitable as a risk to your family’s sanitation if left unresolved.

What To Do Next

Serial Number

Prior to calling your local water heating service, make sure to make a note of the serial number on your heater. This helps the professionals identify the life expectancy or the age of the system. It can be located on a sticker on the side of the heater.

Number of Gallons

Knowing the size of your water heater can help aid the service due. You can check for a sticker on the side of your water heater, usually with the serial number. Look for any indication on the gallon capacity. If tank replacement is needed, knowing the current capacity can help the necessary recommendations to accommodate the possible water heater sizing your household needs.

Electric or Gas

Identify if your water heater is run by electric or gas. This will help the professionals determine the best game plan for the current problems. To do this, you can remove the access panel on the side of the water heater. You can look inside to determine if you see a blue flame. This blue flame is a pilot light that indicates it’s being operated by gas.

Height and Diameter

When replacement is due, the height and diameter of your current tank helps identify the overall cost. Height information also helps further plumbing or piping connections, if needed.

To measure height (inches), place the end of the tape measure from the top to the base. To measure diameter (inches), place the tape measure across the heater horizontally.

Bonus tip: To make it easier on you and your contractor, take photos of the serial tag and the water heater overall.


Being aware of the life expectancy and the status of your water heater can prevent future disruptions to your water use. The main benefit goes back to your family. For example, they won’t have to suffer the sanitation problems of rust in the water.

Looking for the signs of replacement early can alleviate property damage and heavy costs. Seeking service consultations can provide a seamless transition to a new heater.