When should I consider replacing my water heater?

When should I think about replacing my water heater?

Your home’s water heater (or hot water tank) is not something that you think about all the time, nor would one normally consider replacing it until there is a problem, however if your tank is getting close to the 10-year mark, you may want to think about doing it sooner than later. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. INSURANCE! You may have been asked the last time you renewed your insurance how old your water heater is. This is because most insurance companies are requiring tanks over 10 years in age to be replaced. If your tank is over this age, you may not be covered by insurance, or the deductible to get these items taken care of may be much higher than your regular deductible. Make sure you ask your insurance broker what your coverage, and limitations on coverage are!
  2. Preventing a disaster! Even if your insurance does cover the damages caused by a leaking water heater, it is a headache that not many people want to deal with. Most current hot water tanks are lasting between 8 and 10 years in age, so we are recommending people start to consider their options at the 8-year mark.
  3. Response time! No one wants to wait for their contractor to be available to replace their tank while they have no hot water. We try to prioritize customers without hot water, and get them dealt with ASAP, however there are times when we are fully booked, and unable to get to customers right away. Murphy’s law tells us that if your water heater is going to fail, it will do so over the weekend, or in the middle of the night! Avoid this situation and get your water heater replaced before it stops working or springs a leak!
  4. Warranty! If your water heater is nearing the end of its expected life, it is likely that parts are no longer covered under warranty. In the event of a break down, you may find yourself deciding on whether to pay for a repair or a replacement, and having cold showers in the meantime! Avoid this situation and replace before you get to this point.

What type of water heater should I purchase?

When it comes to hot water, there are a few different options to choose from. Here are some of the options, and the benefits of each:

*Please note that the following apply to gas water heaters

Standard efficiency water heater – probably very similar to what you currently have in your house now, a standard efficiency water heater has a simple design, and will be your lowest cost option when pricing out replacements. The nice thing about standard efficiency water heaters, is that they take no 120-volt power, so even if the power goes out, you will still have hot water available to you!

Powered-damper water heater – Very close to the standard efficiency water heater, with a few extra functions to give an efficiency increase. These functions are an electronic damper in the exhaust that opens when the burners are lit, and closes after they go out, as well as an electronic ignition system. These two features equate to a 9-10% increase in efficiency, which may not be much in terms of your monthly water heater operation cost, however there are rebates available for upgrading to this product which often overshoots the extra cost for this upgrade!

Power-vented water heater – This water heater is perfect for a situation where the water heater that is being replaced has an exhaust vent that can no longer be used. These water heaters are vented with plastic PVC piping which means they can be terminated out of the side wall of the residence rather than through the roof.

Tankless water heater – Although these water heaters are substantially more expensive than a hot water tank, they are perfect for certain scenarios such as homes with large soaker tubs, or multiple uses of hot water around the same time of day. Those that invest in a tankless water heater enjoy a literally endless supply of hot water. These units operate at a 98% efficiency and have a longer life expectancy than a hot water tank. A common misconception of tankless water heaters is that they provide “instantaneous” hot water. This is NOT true, as a matter of fact, it typically takes longer for the hot water to reach the outlet that is calling for heated water. Ask your comfort advisor about adding a “recirculation line” to get your water to your tap or shower sooner!

Whatever option you end up choosing, make sure you get all the relevant warranty info on your water heater (there are usually warranty upgrade options available), and make sure your contractor pulls a permit on the installation. Gandy Installations happily handles all the rebate applications for you. Call today for a free estimate!