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Water Heater Replacement Guide

When to replace a water heater

Like most modern-day appliances, even the sturdiest of water heaters eventually fail.

Knowing when to anticipate the need for repairing or replacing a large appliance like your water heater can help you to pay attention and potentially even expand the life of your unit through regular maintenance.

If you have a storage tank water heater, they typically need to be replaced after 8 to 12 years, whereas tankless water heaters can last up to 20 years. Most of the time you will know when it’s time; but these are general rules of thumb. You’ll also want to be aware of the warranty on your unit.

On the flip side, don’t automatically assume your unit is done for just because it’s been working a long time. If you have kept up with the general maintenance and repairs you might be able to extend the life of your unit longer than the average.

While there is nothing wrong with riding out your existing water heater to its eventual end, you may enjoy the benefits of upgrading rather than repairing. The latest models have improved technology for better comfort and greater efficiency (meaning cheaper electric bills) than their older counterparts.

We will dig into the specifics below about how to know when you need to replace your water heater.

How to Tell When to Replace Your Water Heater

Before you opt to buy a new water heater, examine some aesthetic components of your unit.

  • Is there rust?
  • Do you notice any leaks?
  • Test the water. Is the heating element not getting the water as hot as it should?

Take a look and take pictures just in case you speak with a professional.

The severity of the issue will dictate whether or not replacement is necessary. It’s best to consult a trusted professional to determine if the issue ought to be repaired instead of replaced. Some problems may become exacerbated, causing major leaks and potential safety issues if the water becomes contaminated. If this is the case, you should plan on replacing or purchasing a new unit.

Consult the warranty of your particular product to determine its eligibility for a refund or replacement through the company. If unsure or you do not have the warranty, refer back to the dealer the unit was originally purchased from. They should have more information on the warranty of the product.

The type of water heater you have will be the primary determinant in the expected lifespan.

Bradford White RG2PV75H6N 75 Gallon, Power Vent Water Heater Storage tank water heaters

For older homes storage tank water heaters are the most common and are a bigger size. Per the name, these units have a compartment that holds hot water in order to expedite the hot water delivery process.

As mentioned above, storage units normally last around a decade, give or take a couple of years. Simply outrunning the warranty doesn’t mean they will not work anymore.

Tankless water heaters

Homes with constant capacity needs may use tankless, which continually heat the water as it passes through the pump.

As mentioned above, on-demand water heaters last up to 20 years. Just because they have outrun their warranty doesn’t mean they are done for.

Replacing a Water Heater

Most people find that it is best to leave water heater replacement to the professionals.

However, before scheduling an installation, you will need to decide on which type you would like to get. Has your current unit suited your hot water needs? Are you moving or making another life change that will affect your water heating needs?

Have these pieces of information at the ready when you go to purchase a replacement:

  • How many gallons do you use per day? Per week?
  • Do you often have multiple simultaneous water uses (e.g., running the dishwasher and doing the laundry)?
  • Are there a lot of people in your home often that may use different showers at the same time?
  • What is the BTU capacity of your current unit?
  • Are you trying to cut down on your water use? Do you anticipate needing a greater capacity in the coming years?

From there, and depending on your energy efficiency needs, you should be able to narrow down by storage or tankless, and then by brand.

Make a plan

Because this appliance is typically large, their removal and replacement require a bit more planning than your average appliance.

Look into the options available for both uninstalling and getting rid of your water heater in your local area. Check with the city council or other local leadership organization about their policies on curbside pickup. If that isn’t an option, you can call the nearest recycling facility to see if they accept hot water heaters.

Apart from the logistics of removing your old unit, you’ll also want to plan for that of the installation of your new one. After all, you don’t want to go without hot water! Plan ahead so that the two can happen on the same or consecutive days.

Know When to Repair and When to Replace

A water heater is one of those appliances you just can’t go without. So when yours starts acting up or worse –– quits working altogether, you’ll want to know how to figure out what’s next.

Generally speaking, if your unit has outlived it’s warranty, is more than a decade old (for storage heaters), and/or has a lot of rust or a bad leak, it’s probably time to start thinking about replacement. However, if yours does not meet the above criteria and rather seems to be on the fritz, there may be an electrical or mechanical issue at play. Be sure to investigate personally or with the help of a professional before moving forward with either repairing or replacing your water heater.

If you do decide to buy a new water heater, you will need to choose between a storage tank or a tankless. Depending on your capacity needs, one may be a better option over the other. For example, if you have a smaller home with only a couple of occupants, you may be able to opt for the tankless option, which continuously and efficiently heats the water as it flows.

For those in the market for a new unit, Total Home Supply has got what you need. Start shopping for the perfect water heater today!

Not sure where to start? No problem. Simply contact us and we’ll help point you in the right direction.

Mickey Luongo

Mickey is the resident heating and air conditioning expert with over 15 years of experience in the industry.

One thought on “Water Heater Replacement Guide”

  1. 6 Energy Efficient Water Heaters - Tankless & Storage Tank says:

    […] Replacing your old unit for an energy efficient one will not only help ensure you have access to hot water when you need it, but it can also help you save money in the form of energy bill savings and tax credits. There are so many benefits of efficient water heaters, and we can’t wait for you to experience them. Shop our water heaters now to get started. […]

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