Water – How to know when you need a new water heater


Our hot water is hot sometimes, but not always. For example I might be able to fill up a tub with hot water one morning, but the next morning the water might be cold. This is our first home and when we bought it the water heater was already old. If we need a new one is it hard to install?

Best Answer

For starters, check for leaks. A hot water heater that can't consistently heat water is likely either a) leaking or b) has a faulty heating element.

Hot water heaters typically have a 10 year lifespan. There should be a date somewhere on the tank. If you're handy with electrical (or gas) and plumbing, it's not a big deal to swap out. If you're not, you'll want to bring in a plumber.

If you do want to bring in a plumber, then hire one BEFORE the heater springs a major leak. Emergency rates for a plumber are not fun. ;)

Note that all hot water heaters have something called a 'sacrificial anode' that you can replace regularly to extend the life of the tank. It's a rod of metal that will corrode saving the tank, itself. That said, very few replace them...even people like me, that know I should. ;) But it is a relatively cheap way to extend the life of the tank.