Water heaters have become a crucial part of every household. They give you warm and hot water for a satisfying bath whenever you want. You’ll simply need to turn on the switch – and the water will be ready in minutes. But there comes the point when you need to consider how to replace a water heater.

Do you want to learn more about water heater replacement? Then keep reading!

How Long do Water Heaters Last?

Ideally, traditional water heaters with tanks should last up to 8-12 years. On the other hand, tankless water heaters can last longer than 20 years. Manufacturers generally suggest a water heater replacement every 12 years for traditional heaters. They recommend replacements every 20 years for tankless ones.

In reality, however, heaters may last a little longer than the recommended time. They might also stop working long before the average time. Hence, it’s crucial for you to look for signs that your water heater needs replacement.

Signs Indicating that It’s Time for a Water Heater Replacement

Even the best brand of water heaters cannot guarantee lifetime usage. You will need to replace the heater at some point. Should you, however, blindly follow the recommendation of the brand? Actually, no.

Usually, when it’s time to replace a water heater, it’s going to show a few signs. Here are the symptoms that you should consider as warning signs:

a. Leaky Tank
b. Noise
c. Rust
d. Slow/no heating
e. Running out of hot water quickly

Let’s check out each of these symptoms individually.

a) Rust
The tanks in water heaters can develop rust after a while. This rust can develop from the water heater itself or come from inlet pipes. Corrosion can start to spread on the steel surface and eat through the metal. Rust can appear in water flowing from faucets, as well as on the pipes, inlets, and pressure valves.

b) Noise
A sure sign that your water heater is on the verge of a breakdown or need of service is if it makes rumbling noises. These noises usually start if there is sedimentary buildup at the bottom of the tank. It can wear down the heater and it will use a lot more gas to heat the water, hence the recovery efficiency will be low. A noisy water heater might also start leaking profusely very soon.

c) Leak
Leaks in the tank are usually the result of expansion and crack in the storage tank. They may also result from problems with the fittings, connections, or overflow pipes. You must not ignore such leaks and fix the problem immediately. Otherwise, leakage can cause major damage or absorb the water.

d) Slow/No Heating
You may notice that even after switching on the heater, the water is not hot enough – or plain cold. It’s also possible that the hot water is running out too quickly. This might result from a small tank that’s not enough to handle the hot water needs in your house. A malfunctioning thermostat or broken heating element or crack dip tube might also be behind this.

It is possible that minor issues are causing these problems. Talking to a pro will help us make small adjustments and fix these issues. However, if there are irreversible damages, you’ll have to replace the water heating unit and install a new one.

Time Required for Water Heater Replacement

Do you want to replace your old water heater with a new one? The heater may show signs that it’s not working correctly, or it might have already broken down. Either way, there’s no time to waste. It’s best to contact a pro to replace a heater in 3 – 4 hours.

A certified plumber will succeed in removing the old heater and installing the new one within 3 – 4 hours. However, the time may extend if there are unforeseen complications in the removal and installation processes. Here’s a quick breakdown of the time that each step should ideally take –

a. Draining the tank 30 – 60min
b. Removing the old water heater 45-60 min
c. Preparing and placing the new water heater 30 – 60 min
d. Setting up the system connection 45-60 min

Do you know your way around plumbing and electrical systems? Then you might be able to handle it yourself. However, it might take longer. When it comes to a water heater, you cannot take that risk and take the help of a reputed and licensed plumber for the fastest water heater replacement.

DIY Water Heater Replacement

It is best to take the help of a plumber with your water heater replacement. However, if you’re in an emergency situation, you might have to do it alone. Don’t be scared! Replacing a water heater is no rocket science, and you can learn to handle it by yourself, too!

There are two steps to replacing a water heater: removing the old device and installing the new one. Let’s take a look!

a) Removal of the Old Water Heater
Safety is the primary concern while removing the water heater. For that, you must take the following steps:
• Start by cutting off the power source. If it’s a gas heater, cut off the valve.
• Next, disconnect all power supply lines.
• Turn on the faucets to drain out all the hot water.
• Using a garden, drain the tank entirely.
• Cut the line of the pipes or unscrew the connector hoses.
• Be careful about the weight of the heater and remove it.

b) Installation of the New Water Heater
Now that you have removed the old water heater, it’s time to install the new one. For that, you’ll have to prep the machine first and place it properly.
• Start by taking the new heater out of the box.
• Maneuver it to its proper position.
• Next, connect the heater to the pipes and add the necessary connector hoses.
• Keeping the hot water faucets on, turn the water supply on.
• Let the water flow out of the faucets for a minute and turn them all off.
• Connect all wires and turn the power supply on / or connect gas line.
• Wait for a while and let the water heat up.
• Make sure the vent is sealed & secure.
• Check for leaks & Carbon Monoxide.

How to Get Rid of an Old Water Heater

When you buy a new water heater, the company will sometimes help transport the old machine away if you opt for an exchange offer. A plumbing company will also help you by hauling the device out. They might charge some extra fees for it. You can also contact a recycling center that will safely dispose of the water heater for you.

Final Words

It is highly recommended to get the help of professionals for a water heater replacement. They will be able to ensure that your new heater is installed according to plumbing code and guide you about the essential maintenance of your tank/heating unit. You can also learn to make simple adjustments and follow routine upkeep to maximize its life.