When Should I Get My Water Heater Replaced?

Most of the time a water heater is a trouble-free household appliance. Water heaters are non-issues UNTIL you get hit with that first icy shower or giant puddle in the basement.  Then you have to think fast: Repair or replace?

The Cost of Hot Water

Water heating accounts for about 15% of an average home’s energy bill,  making it the third-largest energy expense in your home.  The older the water heater, the more it costs to run than newer, energy-efficient models. It is important then to buy the most energy efficient unit you can afford.

Life Expectancy of Water Heaters

The life expectancy of a water heater is typically around 10 to 15 years.  The difference in the years is based on the quality of water in your area and the age of your tank.

We typically recommend that a home owner start to research new water heaters at around the water heaters age of 7.  With planning you will find a water heater that suits you and your family well.

If it’s a conventional storage-tank water heater nearing the end of its 10-13-year life, replacement is obvious: New water heater models are up to 20% more efficient and can save up to $700 in energy costs over the life of the unit. However, if your water heater is only a few years old, repair may be all it needs.

How Old Is My Water Heater?

If you don’t know how old your water heater is, look at its serial number. The last two digits of the heater’s serial number usually represent the year of manufacture.


Considerations and Replacement

If you have brown rusty water coming from the tap:

You may need a new hot water heater, there could be bacteria in your system or your anode rod may have failed. You may need us to diagnose the problem.

What does a anode rod do in a water heater?

The single most important factor in whether a water heater lives or dies is the condition of its sacrificial anode. For more than 60 years, it has been used as a key part of the rust protection of a tank, although few people know it’s there.

This is a rod made of magnesium or aluminum that’s formed around a steel core wire and is screwed into the top of the tank and is installed by manufactures.

The anode rod, (sometimes called the sacrificial rod) should be checked every three years. It should be replaced when caked or eaten away and is fairly inexpensive.

Not enough hot water, water heater failure and varying temperatures

Water heater failures are one of the top five sources of residential water losses. Most of these losses resulted from a slow leak or a sudden burst and cost an average of $4,444 in addition to the insurance deductible. The average age at which a water heater fails is 10.7 years.

Water temperature variance can be an indication of an aging water heater. Is the water not as hot as it used to be? Does the water get hot enough for the dishwasher? If not, check the tank’s thermostat. If a low thermostat temperature is not the culprit, it may be time for a new tank.

Do you have only enough hot water for one hot shower, leaving the rest of your family with luke warm or cold water? This is a good sign that it may be time to talk with a professional.


If your water tank has ruptured creating a leak (or a lake), it is definitely time to consider your options. Depending on the age and state-of repair,  it may be more cost effective in the long run to replace the entire tank.


Whether you repair or replace, water heaters will perform better and last longer if you flush the tank once a year to remove sediment.



Carmel Valley San Diego Community | Luis Espana | Community PlumberLuis Espana is a current Carmel Valley resident and the proud business-owner of LGE Prime Plumbing.  Born and raised in San Diego, Luis knew early on he was going to be a plumber.  What he did not know was that his work was going to centered in one of the most community enriched areas in San Diego.  This was the only location that he would come to decide was the best place to live and work for his family. Luis comes to share his experiences and tips for the local San Diego Carmel Valley residents.  If you do happen to run into a problem,  LGE Prime Plumbing The Carmel Valley Plumber, is dedicated to providing plumbing, drain cleaning, install & repairs for all Carmel Valley Residents and San Diego County.


Carmel Valley San Diego Community | RIDE Cyclery Encinitas

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