Fall is one of the two “shoulder seasons” the come between more intense weather. It’s during these times people often investigate replacing important comfort appliances. Often it’s replacing the heater or the air conditioner, but the water heater is another vital part of home comfort that will eventually need to be replaced. The water heater does much more work around the year than any furnace or air conditioner, since it has to operate almost every single day, and all that wear and tear accumulates until the unit has to be replaced. And, maybe, this is the fall when you need to replace yours?
How Can I Know It’s Time for a New Water Heater?
One of the easiest ways to tell if you need a new water heater is the age of your current one. The standard natural gas-powered storage tank water heater, which is probably the type you have, can last for 15 to 20 years. Electric-powered tank water heaters can last a bit longer. We recommend replacing any water heater that’s 20 years or older, and in some cases, a 15-year-old water heater is ready to be replaced.
There are other warning signs to tell you when that aging water heater is coming to the end of its service life:
- Heating bills are rising: The water heater accounts for around 40% of the heating energy you use each year. If the water heater is losing efficiency because of age, you’ll see a rise in your heating costs on the utility bill. This is especially notable outside of the winter months, when the home’s central heating system isn’t running. A steady rise in costs often means the water heater is wearing down too much.
- A drop in hot water volume: If people in the household are getting stuck with lukewarm showers in the morning when this didn’t happen before, you’ve got a dying water heater. A plumber can tell you if repairing it will keep it effective for a few more years or if a replacement is the better long-term saving solution.
- Corrosion: Water heaters are designed to resist corrosion for most of their service lives. Provided a water heater has routine professional maintenance, it shouldn’t develop corrosion until it’s over the hill. So when you see rust start to appear on the tank, it’s time for a new water heater.
- Leaks: A single small leak on a water heater is often something a plumber can fix for you. But if you see water pooling around the base of the unit, you’ve got a more serious problem with a water heater that’s ready to retire.
We’re expert plumbers who work with water heaters in Cincinnati, OH, and the surrounding areas. We can repair your water heater if that’s all it needs. If it’s time for a new system, we can install a storage tank, heat pump, or tankless water heater—we’ll make sure you end up with the right system to meet your needs and help you save money.