How To Tell When A Hot Water Heater Needs to Be Replaced

water heatersWater heaters repair may be an option for many homeowners experiencing malfunctions or difficulties associated with their system. You should not go without this system even for a short period of time. However, most people do not realize that these systems actually provide warning signs that something is not working properly. If you take the time to get help right away, as soon as you spot concerns related to the function of the system, you could reduce the risk of having to replace it.

Consider the Temperature

One of the most common water heater repair signs is temperature changes. If you are noticing that the hot temperature is not as high as it used to be, this could indicate the tank is having trouble heating to the right level. Most temperature ranges are above 120 degrees. If you notice your thermostat is not working properly or it is set to the proper temperature, but the showers are still cold, this could signal a problem that needs attention right away. Sometimes, it is just the thermostat. In other cases, the heating element may be broken.

Warning signs

Homeowners may have a slight warning that the appliance needs to be replaced when the appliance starts to leak. When it fails, it often creates a flood and a mess. At this point, it needs to be replaced. For homeowners who don’t want to wait for the inevitable misfortune of a flooded utility room, Robinson Plumbing typically recommends replacing a hot water heater that is currently 10 years or older.


When it’s time to replace one, the services of a reliable contractor who handles plumbing repairs is usually the best option. While it can be done by a handy homeowner, it is risky for a novice with no experience to handle hook-up and installation. For example, a gas model can be more challenging, if not dangerous, for those who are not well-versed in natural gas pilot lights and hook-ups. An electric model still requires knowledge of installation and hook-ups for plumbing and electricity.

Model Features

There are several choices in replacement appliances. Most importantly is the size. Determining about how many gallons of water are used per day is a good standard to consider in size and usage. To consider how many gallons of water are used per day, consider this example. A daily use of the dishwasher, three showers, a six-cycle load of laundry and turning on the water faucet nine times may be about average for many families. This equals about 77 gallons of water.

Another model feature is whether to go tankless or traditional. A tankless water heater model heats the water as it is needed, rather than the traditional method of storing a tank full of hot water that sits and waits until it is needed. This reduces the amount of energy used by about 20 to 25 percent.

Gas or Electric

Choosing between natural gas or electric models is often the most difficult part of selecting a new appliance.  By choosing a gas model, in the event of a power outage, there will still be comfortable showers and clean dishes. However, electric models are cheaper, which makes them more appealing. Consult with your plumbing contractor for more details.