The following are some general guidelines to help homeowners determine when they might replace a water heater.
At the 15-year Mark
Depending on the make and model of your water heater, I generally recommend a scheduling a replacement at the 15-year mark. After fifteen years, the steel tank has likely corroded to the point that leaks and ruptures are a risk for homeowners. In a garage a ruptured water heater is a mess, but inside the home, it can be a disaster.
Water heater replacement is also recommended when new water pipes are installed (re-piping). Water heaters connected to old galvanized plumbing are usually a repository of rusty sludge at the bottom of the tank. It is a good idea to replace the old water heater before it sends all that rust into your new water pipes and fixtures.
The final reason to replace a water heater is to upgrade to a more energy efficient model – frequently a tankless model. This may also provide homeowners with a tax credit. For information about tankless water heaters visit our Water Heater page.