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A water heater is an essential appliance in any household. It provides hot water for showering, washing dishes, laundry, and other daily activities. Without it, life can be uncomfortable, especially during the colder months. For this reason, you must have a reliable and functional water heater that can meet your hot water needs. However, it can only work for so long until it needs to be replaced.

A water heater typically lasts between 8 to 12 years, depending on the brand, type, and frequency of use. However, knowing when to replace your water heater before it completely breaks down is crucial. A malfunctioning water heater can cause many problems, including water damage, high energy bills, and even health hazards. Delaying the replacement can result in more damage and cost you more in the long run.

If you are unsure whether it is time to replace your water heater, these signs will tell you:

#1 – Rusty Water

If you notice rusty water coming from your faucets or showerhead, it could be a sign that your water heater is rusting. This is a common problem with older water heaters, especially steel ones. Rusty water is not only unpleasant to look at, but it can also be harmful to your health if consumed.

Fill a bucket with hot water to check if rusty water is coming from your water heater. Your water heater is likely the culprit if the water is still rusty. Consider replacing it as soon as possible to avoid further damage.

#2 – No Hot Water

If you turn on the tap and no hot water comes out, it is a sign that your water heater is malfunctioning. Several factors, including a faulty heating element, a malfunctioning thermostat, or a broken dip tube, can cause this. Before replacing your water heater, a professional plumber should diagnose the problem to determine whether it can be repaired.

#3 – The Tank Is Leaking

The tank is likely leaking if you notice water pooling around your water heater. Corrosion, a faulty relief valve, or old age can cause this. A leaking water heater can cause significant damage to your home, so you must address the issue as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the leak, you may need to replace your water heater immediately.

#4 – You Hear Strange Noises

If you hear strange noises from your water heater, such as popping or rumbling sounds, it could be a sign of sediment buildup in the tank. Over time, minerals and sediment can accumulate at the bottom of the tank, causing the heating element to work harder to heat the water. This can lead to a decreased water heater lifespan and higher energy bills.

Flushing the tank regularly can help prevent sediment buildup and prolong the life of your water heater. However, if the noises persist, it may be a sign of a bigger issue, and a professional plumber should be consulted.

#5 – Age

Water heaters typically have a lifespan of 8 to 12 years, depending on the type and usage. If your water heater is approaching or surpassing its expected lifespan, it may be time to consider a replacement. Water heaters become less efficient and more prone to breakdowns as they age. Replacing an older water heater with a newer, energy-efficient model can save you money on your energy bills and prevent unexpected repairs.

If you’re unsure about the age of your water heater, check the manufacturer’s label on the unit. The serial number typically contains information about the age of the water heater. Of course, you must also consider the usage and maintenance history of the water heater when determining if it’s time for a replacement. A professional plumber can help you make an informed decision based on the condition of your water heater.

#6 – Frequent Repairs

If your water heater needs repairs frequently, it might be a sign that it’s time for a replacement. While some repairs are routine throughout the lifespan of a water heater, frequent maintenance can indicate that the unit is reaching the end of its life. Additionally, these repairs can add up quickly and may eventually exceed the cost of a new water heater.


Replacing a water heater is sometimes necessary, especially if it’s too old. For this reason, you must hire a professional plumber or heating contractor to inspect your water heater and determine if it needs to be replaced. This way, you can avoid potential safety hazards, save money on energy bills, and ensure that you have a reliable source of hot water for your home.

Fortis Heating & Air Conditioning provides top-quality home heating services in Oshawa. Our professional HVAC contractors will ensure you get a system that suits your needs for fair prices. Call us today at 289-688-4822 to get a free quote!

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