When Is It Time to Replace Your Water Heater?

Have you been wondering if it’s time to replace your water heater? If you’re like most people, you probably have had the same water heater since you moved into your home. Although water heaters can last many years with routine maintenance and prompt repairs, they aren’t built to last forever. Someday, the water heater will fail, and you’ll need to have it replaced. To help you know when it’s time for a new water heater, we’ve compiled some of the most common signs you should watch for. 

Keep in mind, however, that none of these signs are a definite indication that your water heater needs to be replaced. If you’ve noticed any of these issues, make sure to call us to inspect your unit. Our skilled technicians can tell you if the water heater can be repaired or if it would be more cost-effective to have a new unit installed. 

6 Common Signs Your Water Heater Might Need to Be Replaced

The Age of Your Water Heater

Most water heaters last anywhere between 15-20 years. If your unit is over 20 years old, it’s usually best to have a new system installed—even if the old one is still working properly. Generally, it’s only a matter of time before the water heater fails, so it’s best to be proactive. The good news is that the wide range of newer models are more durable and energy-efficient than your old water heater, so you might even find that you’re saving money on energy bills in the future!

Running Out of Hot Water

Do your showers get lukewarm quicker than they used to? This is a common sign your water heater is on the decline. However, if your family has grown, or you’ve added another bathroom, it may be that your current water heater isn’t adequate for your household’s needs. In this case, it may be time to consider a larger unit. 

Rising Energy Bills

Hot water makes up the majority of residential heating costs. So, if your water heater is beginning to fail, you may notice your energy bills are rising. 


Unless your water heater is extremely old, it shouldn’t have any corrosion. Corrosion can’t be repaired most of the time, so you’ll likely need to have a new unit installed. 

Discolored, Hazy, or Foul-Smelling Water

If the hot water from your tap is hazy, reddish, or smells like rotten eggs, it means that the rust and bacteria aren’t being eliminated by the built-in anode rod. Before you place a service call, though, check to make your water heater is the issue, rather than the actual water supply to your home. You can do this by filling a clear glass with cold water and another one with hot water, then comparing them. If both have murky water, you’re dealing with a water supply issue; if it’s just the hot water, you have a water heater issue. 

Frequent Repairs

Does it seem like your water heater always needs repairs? Keep a record of how often you’re having it repaired throughout the year. A well-functioning water heater shouldn’t need to be repaired more than twice yearly. If you’re having it repaired more frequently than that, installing a new unit will likely be the more cost-effective option. 

Things to Consider if You Need a Replacement

Is your water heater showing any of these signs? Here are a couple of things to consider if you need to replace it:

  • Consider switching to a tankless system. While traditional tank water heaters heat the water continuously, tankless water heaters only heat as much water as needed, when needed. This “heat on demand” feature can reduce energy use significantly (approximately 24-34%) compared to traditional tank water heaters. Tankless units also tend to last longer than tank water heaters. 
  • Consider installing a smaller water heater with a tank booster, so you have enough hot water to fill up a bathtub. Only about 2/3 of a water heater’s capacity is useful water; a tank booster is a cost-effective way to nearly double your usable hot water capacity. 

Water Heater Issues? PECO is Here to Help!

At PECO Heating and Cooling, we want you to get the most out of your water heater. However, when the cost of repairs gets too high, your water heater isn’t adequate for your needs, or it’s causing your energy bills to skyrocket, it may be time to consider having a new unit installed. If you’ve noticed any of the above signs, have one of our technicians take a look. In some cases, we may be able to repair the issue; in others, you may need a replacement. 

Either way, we’ll evaluate the issue and provide you with the most cost-effective options to get your hot water flowing properly again. Need help with a different plumbing issue? Our team also offers drain cleaning, leak repairs, new appliance installations, and more. Schedule an appointment today by calling (864) 639-2424 or send us a message through our online form