When Should You Replace Your Hot Water Heater?

water heater maintenance

Even with regular water heater maintenance, it can be tough to tell when it’s time to replace your hot water heater. Here, our experts share some signs that could mean a new model is in your future:

Average Lifespan Of A Hot Water Heater

While today’s water heaters are better designed than older models, they still require regular maintenance in order to prolong their lives. With regular inspection, draining, and flushing, you can expect a gas water heater to last anywhere from 8-12 years and an electric water heater to last anywhere from 10-15 years.

Signs of Trouble

The last thing you want is your water heater breaking down on you when you need it most (especially in the winter), so take note of some signs that might mean trouble. These include:

Rusty water

If you notice brownish or tinted water coming from your water heater, it could mean one of two things: that your water heater is rusting away on the inside or that your home’s piping is rusty. It may be tough to tell the difference, so set up an appointment with one of our water heater maintenance experts. We’ll help you determine what it is.


Over time, sediment builds up in your hot water heater. As it’s heated over and over again, the sediment will get hard and will start to shift around, causing rumbling or gurgling noises. These sounds aren’t a good sign, and can lead to overworked water heaters, leaks, internal damage, and more.

Cold water

The purpose of a hot water heater is hot water, so if your heater is on and you’re still getting cold water, it’s time to call Oliver. We’ll figure out what the problem is and get it fixed quickly.


If you notice water or moisture around your hot water heater, it could mean you have a crack or a leak. Depending on where the crack or leak is located, you may have to replace your water heater.


Old age always comes into play when it comes to water heater warning signs. If yours is around 10 years or older, you may want to consider investing in a new one before your current one starts to leak or cause other problems. To find out how old your water heater is, take a picture of the rating plate and send it to our water heater expert using the form at the bottom of this page.

Have more questions about when you should replace your water heater? Just send us a message and we’ll be happy to help!

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