6 Reasons to Replace Your Water Heater Before It Fails

If you’re like most people, you have a list of home repairs a mile long, so you’re not sure if you should prioritize your water heater before it fails. Isn’t it better to just wait until the heater breaks and then deal with it?

Here are 6 very convincing reasons to get your water heater replaced before it fails, not after:

  • Prevents catastrophic leaks

  • Gives you time to choose a good model

  • Keeps the hot water going consistently

  • Is better for the environment 

  • Saves money

  • More peace of mind

Ahead, we’ll talk further about the importance of replacing your water heater before something disastrous happens. We’ll also share some suggestions for when to replace your water heater so you know just when the right time is.

Let’s get started!

6 Benefits of Replacing Your Water Heater Before It Fails

Prevents Catastrophic Leaks

Do you know what would really happen if your old water heater were to rupture and leak?

It wouldn’t be a small stream of water, oh no. It could be upwards of 50 gallons of water rushing from the water heater all at once.

Most of the damage would be contained to the room in which the water heater is located, which is usually the garage, laundry room, or basement. These rooms would be seriously flooded.

If your garage or basement is used for recreation, anything you had in there could be destroyed. That means your big-screen TV, workbench, tools, stereo system, furniture…it’s all gone.

Water damage to the laundry room can destroy both your washing machine and your dryer not to mention anything else in that room.

That’s not all. Remember, a water heater contains upwards of 50 gallons of water. That’s quite a lot of H2O.

The water can easily leak to other rooms of the house, especially adjacent rooms. When that much water rushes through, it can easily wreck flooring, carpeting, walls, and anything in the rooms that you hold dear.

According to HomeAdvisor, water restoration for plumbing fixtures costs $1,000 to $4,000. You’d spend between $500 and $85,000 to treat a flooded basement.

You can’t exactly wait to cough up the cash either. Without immediate professional remediation, water damage can begin to soften the wood and other structures that comprise your home, making it unsafe to reside it.

Mold and mildew will grow as well, as the dark, damp conditions that are your home are very favorable to the fungi.

You can avoid all this heartbreak and catastrophe by replacing your water heater before it fails and potentially ruptures.

Gives You Time to Choose a Good Model

Have you ever had your car break down on you for good? You’re frazzled and distraught. You need a new set of wheels, so you buy whatever seems good. A few months later, you wish you had made a more clear-headed decision.

That’s the same type of scenario you can find yourself in when your water heater bursts and leaks all over your house. Between all the cleanup and remediation, the last thing you’re focused on is a water heater.

You choose whatever sounds good because your mind isn’t focused. You don’t pay attention to features. You don’t concern yourself with how energy-efficient the water heater is.

Heck, you might not even really look at the price. You just need a water heater, so who cares which one it is?

You’ll care a year or two in when your water heater begins malfunctioning because you didn’t choose a good model. You’ll also care if you end up overpaying.

Without the panic and urgency of a catastrophic leak clouding your mind, you can sit down with your spouse or partner (unless you’re shopping solo), slowly browse through your options, create a budget, and weigh your decision.

You’ll be much happier with the water heater you ultimately purchase.

Keeps the Hot Water Going Consistently

Have you ever tried to shower without hot water? It’s no fun, that’s for sure. Well, unless you’re the type who likes a cold shower, that is.

When you wait until your water heater kicks the bucket to replace it, you’re creating a situation where you will be out of a water heater for at least several days if not several weeks.

After all, while water heater installation only takes three or four hours, you have to order a new heater, possibly wait for it to be in stock, and then get it delivered.

Then you have to set up installation, which may be on a separate date from when the water heater arrives.

In the meantime, you either have to start taking military showers or ask a friend, family member, or neighbor if you can shower at their house for a while.

It’s Better for the Environment

Most people think to replace their water heaters every decade or two. If you’ve had yours for at least that long, then you can be sure it’s likely anything but energy-efficient.

According to HVAC company Maeser, upgrading to an Energy Star-rated water heater improves the heating efficiency in your home by upwards of eight percent. That’s just by changing your water heater.

If you switch to other Energy Star-rated appliances and fixtures, you’ll enjoy greater energy efficiency still.

Helps You Save Money

Are you perhaps not totally convinced that replacing your water heater now is the best course of action? We think this section ought to change your mind.

You can save a lot of money if you swap out your water heater when you still want to versus being forced into it.

We cited a stat from Maeser in the last section that mentioned how you can improve your home’s energy efficiency with a new water heater, but that’s not all.

You can also save cash. Maeser predicts your savings as being $3,500 on an energy-efficient water heater across the heater’s lifetime.

There are more savings still.

Since your new water heater is more energy-efficient, you won’t end up spending as much money on your water bills.

We can’t say exactly how much you’ll save, but if it’s even $20 per month, that’s $240 more you’re pocketing per year.

After two years, you’d save $480; after three years, it’s $720, and after five years, you’d have $1,200 more in your pocket just by upgrading your water heater to a greener model.

Did you think we were done? Not quite!

Remember the thousands of dollars you’d have to spend on water remediation if your water heater burst?

Those costs don’t even accommodate for the thousands more to even hundreds of thousands you’d shell out for new flooring, walls, furniture, appliances, and fixtures that were water-damaged.

When you replace your water heater in a timely fashion, the above fees never apply. The amount of money you can keep in your account is significant.

Improves Your Peace of Mind

No one wants to live with the feeling that their water heater is a ticking time bomb.

That kind of thought can keep you awake at night tossing and turning and unable to get a wink of sleep.

Why continue to mount pressure on yourself when you don’t have to? By replacing your water heater right now, you won’t have to think about your water heater rupturing for at least another decade or two.

You’ll sleep a lot better at night, that’s for certain!

6 Signs That It’s Time for a New Water Heater Pronto

How do you even know when you’re in the market for a new water heater? The following six signs will make it evident.

It’s More Than 15 Years Old

The average lifespan of a water heater is 10 years old. Can yours last longer than that? Absolutely! Tankless water heaters usually have twice the lifespan.

Even if yours isn’t a tankless model, by prioritizing maintenance, your water heater could be in really good shape even beyond the 10-year mark.

That said, the older the water heater gets, the less time it has before something disastrous could happen. It’s also less efficient. You might want to replace the water heater just to be on the safe side.

The Water Is No Longer Hot

When you used to turn on your shower, you remember when the water that came out was nice and crisp and hot.

These days, even if you twist that hot water knob as far as it will go, the water temps are still only lukewarm.

You checked your water heater, and everything seems to be in working order. You’re just not getting hot water from the water heater anymore.

Something could be wrong. The thermostat could have gone haywire or perhaps it was the heating element.

In other cases, it’s simply age that’s caused your water heater to falter.

Either way, your water heater is failing at its most basic duty, which is warming up water so you can shower comfortably or do the dishes. It’s time to look into getting a new one.

You See Puddles Around the Water Heater

Can you hear water drip, drip, dripping near your water heater but you can’t determine where it’s emanating from?

Perhaps several times this month, you’ve gone down your basement only to see a huge puddle around the water heater.

Both these issues are very concerning. A leak has clearly occurred somewhere, and if it’s not addressed soon, the tank could leak all 50 gallons of water all over your basement or garage.

Be sure to turn the water off in the meantime to prevent the aforementioned situation from transpiring.

You could call a mechanic, but there might not be anything they can do. Now you’re just out of money and your water heater is still broken.

The best idea if you see any water coming from the water heater is to replace it.

The Tank Looks Rusted

Take some time to inspect the exterior of your water heater the next time you’re out in the garage or down the basement. Does the tank show any visible signs of rust such as browning or crusting?

This isn’t a good sign. Rust doesn’t just happen with age or wear and tear.

Rather, it’s usually caused by water exposure. This means that if your water heater isn’t currently leaking that it’s had a leak at some point.

The structural integrity of the tank is at risk and continuing to use your water heater is a risky move.

The Water Is Discolored

Another sign that your need to replace your water heater is the quality of the water that comes out.

Sure, it’s easy enough to write off rust-colored water coming from your shower if the tap is old and needs replacing.

What if that same discolored water also appears when you turn on your kitchen or bathroom sinks?

The brownish color is caused by rust that has leeched into the water from the components of your water heater. Drinking this water is not safe, nor is bathing with it or cleaning your dishes with it.

You need a new water heater pronto.

The Water Heater Makes a Lot of Noise When Running

Are water heaters completely quiet? No.

If you’re hearing crackling, hissing, and/or sizzling though and you have an electric water heater, that’s troublesome. For non-electric models, any other pronounced sounds are just as bad.

You know what we’re going to tell you by this point. You’ll have to plan to replace your water heater sooner than later!

Final Thoughts

Water heater failure is a catastrophic event that can cost you thousands of dollars and very often tens of thousands of dollars. After all, a water heater contains 50 gallons of water that can flood your house and leave major damage in its wake.

By replacing your water heater now, you can take your time and choose a new model that you like and fits your budget. Your new water heater will be more energy-efficient, which will lead to lower utility bills and more money in your pocket!


Geoff Southworth is the creator of RealEstateInfoGuide.com, the site that helps new homeowners, investors, and homeowners-to-be successfully navigate the complex world of property ownership. Geoff is a real estate investor of 8 years has had experience as a manager of a debt-free, private real estate equity fund, as well as a Registered Nurse in Emergency Trauma and Cardiac Cath Lab Care. As a result, he has developed a unique “people first, business second” approach to real estate.

Recent Posts

outdoortroop-21 outdoortoop-20