Signs it’s Time for a New Water Heater

In Edmonton households, hot water is an absolute necessity. The typical household water heater gets an extensive amount of use daily by all members of the household multiple times throughout the day. Even with proper maintenance, there will come a point where the water heater will need to be replaced. Here are a few signs to look for when deciding if it’s time for a new water heater.


Lifespan of the Heater

The typical lifespan of a water heater is from 8-10 years. It is recommended that any water heater is replaced after 10 years, however the need to replace the heater could arise before or after 10 years.

Not all water heaters have the lifespan of a full 10 years, gas heaters being a prime example as they typically only last 6-8 years.

Not sure how old your water heater is? You can find the age by looking at the manufacturer’s date found on the water heater. The numbers will be formatted like this: D189876542. The first letter signifies the month, in this case the D stands for April because D is the 4th letter in the alphabet and April is the 4th month. The next two numbers after will be the year, in this example the year is 2018.


Signs of Wear


As a water heater ages, sediment at the bottom of the tank begins to build and can cause loud rumbling noises when the heater is in use. The noises may be an indication that the tank needs to be replaced, or that it requires a simple flush.

Contact one of our certified plumbers to see if a water heater flush is the right solution for you.

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Leaks on a water heater are often from the contracting and expanding of the metal in the tank from thousands of heating cycles. When the water heater reaches the end of its lifespan the metal may begin to fracture and create gaps where water can leak out. This kind of leaking is a good indicator that it’s time to replace the unit.

However, not all leaks are an indicator that the unit requires a replacement. Sometimes the problem can be that the water pressure or temperature is too high, improper fittings and connections, or the unit’s relief valve is not working properly.


If you notice a metallic flavour or rusty colour coming out of your taps there is likely rust in your water heater or pipes. Water heaters are made of steel and are susceptible to rust over time. If rust has taken over the unit it is no longer safe and it will need to be replaced promptly.


Inadequate Heating

If you are finding that the hot water coming out of your facets is no longer reaching the proper temperature, it may be time to replace your water heater. With age, pieces within the tank start to break down and wear and will stop working. Before calling to replace the unit, check to ensure that the temperature on the thermostat is set between 120 and 140 degrees.

An insufficient sized water heater can also lead to having no hot water. As households grow their hot water needs grow as well and may exceed the capabilities of the current water heater. If this is the case, replacing the unit for one that can better meet the demands of the house should solve the problem.

A broken water heater element can also be the culprit for no hot water. A professional plumber can easily repair the broken element and have the hot water returned in a few hours. However, if the unit is nearing its 8-10 year lifespan, it will likely need to be replaced instead.


A tankless water heater against a blue wall.

If you’re thinking about installing a new water heater in your home, here’s the skinny on the pros and cons of both conventionional tank models and tankless water heaters.

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Traditional Water Heaters

A conventional hot water heater is a large tank that heats and stores hot water to be used in your home. These water heaters are the most common to see in households.


Cheaper initial cost – hot water tanks are more affordable to purchase and install than tankless varieties.

Cheaper repairs – because conventional water heaters are less complicated, repairing them costs less.

You get more hot water – hot water tanks hold a large amount, so if you need a particularly large amount of hot water at once (say you want to use the shower, dishwasher, and washing machine all at once), but once the tank empties you will have to wait a while for your hot water to replenish.


Take up more space – conventional hot water tanks take up a large amount of space, making them difficult to fit in some smaller homes.

Shorter lifespan – hot water tanks usually last about 10 years before they need to be replaced, while tankless models last around 20 years.

Hot water runs out – you may get more hot water at once with a tank, but that hot water will run out and you will have to wait an hour or two for it to replenish, while tankless models will heat water instantly.

Tankless Water Heaters

Instead of storing hot water in a tank, tankless water heaters use high-powered burners to heat water instantly as you need it, so you don’t run out of hot water as the tank empties.


Longer lifespan – tankless water heaters usually last around 20 years if properly maintained. This is twice as long as a traditional hot water tank lasts.

Instant hot water – tankless water heaters heat the water instantly as you need it, so there’s no waiting around for the water to heat up after somebody took a long shower.

Lower monthly costs – these water heaters are about 22% percent more efficient than hot water tanks, so you’ll save a bundle annually on your monthly bills.

Space savers – tankless heaters don’t take up much room, making them a good choice for small homes where space is hard to come by.


Won’t heat enough water for large households – if you have a larger number of people living in your house and using hot water simultaneously, a tankless water heater won’t be able to keep up with it and you will get inconsistent temperatures.

High initial cost – tankless water heaters are more expensive than traditional water heaters to buy and install, but since they last twice as long as traditional heaters, the initial cost eventually pays for itself.

Ready for a new water heater or need yours repaired? Call Butler today for all of your installation, repair, and maintenance needs. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have.

Call us: 1-587-200-7566