Should I Replace My Water Heater Before It Fails?

Writen by
Guy's Team
February 12, 2024
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Water heaters are crucial appliances in our homes, providing us with the luxury of hot water for showers, washing dishes, and laundry. However, like any other appliance, they have a lifespan. The question many homeowners face is whether to wait for their water heater to fail or to preemptively replace it. Last winter we discussed replace or repair your water heater. Here's a comprehensive look at this conundrum.

1. The Lifespan of a Water Heater

Typically, a traditional tank water heater will last anywhere between 8-12 years, while tankless water heaters can last up to 20 years. However, this depends on factors like water quality, the heater's build quality, maintenance frequency, and usage. If your unit is approaching or has surpassed this age, it may be a good time to consider a replacement.

2. Warning Signs of a Failing Water Heater

Look out for these signs:

  • Inconsistent water temperatures: If you're getting bursts of cold water during your hot shower or it's taking longer for the water to heat up, your unit might be on its last legs.
  • Rusty water: This might indicate that the insides of your tank are corroding.
  • Rumbling noises: Sediment build-up at the bottom of the tank can cause it to overheat, leading to these noises.
  • Leaks: Water pooling around your heater is never a good sign.

3. Benefits of Preemptive Replacement

Avoiding emergencies: Waiting for a failure can mean an unexpected flood in your home. Preemptively replacing can save a lot of stress and potential water damage.

Increased efficiency: Newer models are generally more energy-efficient, translating to savings on your monthly bills.

Consistent hot water supply: No more unexpected cold showers!

4. Economic Considerations

While a new water heater is an investment, consider the potential costs of an emergency replacement, including potential water damage repairs and the inconvenience of not having hot water for a period. Plus, a more efficient unit can pay for itself in energy savings over time.

5. Environmental Impact

Newer water heaters are not only more efficient in terms of energy consumption, but they also operate cleaner. This means a reduced carbon footprint for your household.

6. Upgrade Opportunities

Technology has come a long way. If you're replacing your old unit, this might be an opportunity to upgrade to a tankless water heater or one with smart technology features. These units heat water on demand, leading to more savings and a never-ending supply of hot water.

7. Maintenance is Key

Whether you decide to replace your water heater now or later, regular maintenance is crucial. Flushing the tank annually, checking the pressure relief valve, and inspecting for leaks can extend the life of your unit.

8. Consultation with Professionals

If you're unsure about the state of your water heater, it's always a good idea to consult with a professional. They can assess the current condition, provide maintenance, or guide you in choosing a replacement if necessary.


Water heaters play an integral role in our daily lives. The decision to replace them before they fail comes with multiple benefits, from economic savings to ensuring a consistent hot water supply. While it's an investment, the peace of mind, environmental impact, and potential savings make it a worthy consideration. If you're in the greater Amarillo area and need guidance or services related to your water heater, Guy's Plumbing Heating & Air is here to help. Don't wait for an emergency; be proactive and ensure your home runs smoothly.