The Basics of Knowing if You Need to Replace Your Water Heater
Most water heaters last between 8 and 12 years. If any of the following is true of your water heater, you probably need to replace it:
- Water heater is more than 10 years old
- There are leaks around the base of the tank
- The hot water heater works erratically or not at all
How long your water heater lasts varies based on the location and design. Quality of installation, maintenance schedule and water quality also play a big role.
Getting Ready to Replace Your Water Heater
You can probably replace your water heater with the same or similar type of unit that you have now. However, a lot has changed in the last 10 years. You might be surprised how much better a new water heater can be. The new water heaters on the market today can save you money and can deliver more hot water more efficiently than what you are used to.
Here are some features to consider:
- Capacity (40 and 50 gallon water heaters are the most common)
- Recovery rate (how many gallons can the unit heat in an hour)
- Dimensions (how much space do you in your house where the unit will be stored)
- Energy efficiency ratings (units should have a sticker on the side with the estimated annual cost of operating the unit)
The nameplate on your existing water heater should have a lot of information that will be helpful in choosing your new unit. Here’s what to look for:
- Tank capacity
- Insulation R-Value (explanation here: https://energy.gov/energysaver/insulation)
- Installation guidelines
- Working pressure
- Model number
- Serial number
If your unit is electric it will also have the wattage capacity and voltage of the heating elements.
Considering a Tankless Water Heater?
The tankless water heater is one of the most innovative inventions in home water heating. A tankless water heater can save you money, save energy and provide hot water to your home with no wait time (i.e. you never run out of hot water). For more information, check out our article about tankless hot water heaters.