5 Things Homeowners Should Know About Replacing A Water Heater

The availability of hot, running water is vital to every household. Showers, baths, hand washing, laundry, cooking and dish cleaning are all tasks that rely on water of varying warm temperatures. The average person performs approximately 20 tasks involving hot water ever day. When that usage is multiplied per member of the household, it’s easy to see the sort of demands placed on your water heater.

At some point, you may notice signs that your water heater is not performing optimally. This could mean that it needs to be serviced, or that it needs to be outright replaced. With these five handy hints, you’ll be able to recognize when your water heater needs some TLC, or when it might be time to call in the experts to replace your device.

How to find out the age of your water heater

If you’ve purchased a property or moved into a home previously owned/occupied by another person, chances are you won’t know how old the current water heater is. You can find this out by consulting the serial number of the device. All water heater serial numbers start with a letter. This letter denotes the month of manufacture (with A being January, through to L for December). This is followed by the last two digits of the year the device was manufactured.

If your water heater serial number starts with C20, for example, this would mean it was manufactured in March 2020. F06 would be July 2006, and so on. This is important to know, as working out the date of manufacture can be useful in determining whether its time your water heater needs replacing.

Brown, rusty water: what it means

While steel may be one of the strongest materials on the earth, it does have a weakness, and that weakness is rust. When corrosion affects a steel surface, it can spread and eat through the steel in your water heater and its corresponding pipes.

Water with a brown or rusty tinge to it could mean that your pipework has become rusty. It could also be an issue with your water tank. To ascertain whether the tank needs replaced, you should drain several bucketloads of hot water from it. If the water is still rusty by the third bucketload, your tank will need replacing – which means its time to replace your water heater too.

Fuel types

When looking for a new water heater, its fuel source should be your first consideration. It generally costs more to heat water with propane, as it is the most expensive form of fuel. Electricity is slightly cheaper, with natural gas coming in cheapest. However, your access to fuel/electricity should determine which is the right choice for your home.

The location of your water heater

The location of your water heater could determine everything from the size restrictions on your new device to the type of fuel you can use to heat it. Be certain to take measurements of your available space, as you don’t want to end up purchasing a device that is too big for your existing water heater location.

Flow rate

Flow rate refers to the amount of water flowing from your installed hot water fixtures. A question you will need to ask prior to replacing your existing water heater is “how much hot water does my household use at a given time?”

This is because you’ll want to be able to keep up with the existing demands. If your home is full of showerheads and hot tubs in the bathroom with sink units and dishwashers in the kitchen, chances are you will need a large tank. Many tankless water heaters simply cannot keep up with the demands of multiple high-flow fixtures running at once.


As you should be aware by now, replacing a water heater is more than looking at sticker prices. Your water heater is a vital appliance for the running of your home, not just your water.

For further guidance, consult the pros at D&N Plumbing and Gas to ensure you’re getting a good deal!

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