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Reliance Plumbing Sewer & Drainage, Inc. Blog

Signs You’ve Got a Dying Water Heater

water-heatersWater heaters are designed for durability, but they also do a tremendous amount of work in homes around the year. Compare the water heater in your house to the heating system you use to stay warm. You only run the heater during the cold months of the year, and it gets a long summer vacation. Your water heater, on the other hand, works almost every day. All that wear and tear takes a toll, and at some point you’ll confront a water heater that’s on the way out. At what point do you know it’s time to stop repairing your water heater and get a new one?

The age of the water heater

Although a water heater’s age isn’t an absolute when it comes to when to retire it, it’s a good starting place. Modern water heaters last from around 12 to 15 years on average. (The old days of cast iron water heaters that lasted for 30 years are gone—those behemoths were major energy wasters, so it’s not a big loss.) Once you have had a water heater for over 15 years, we recommend paying close attention to other signs of decline and be prepared to have it replaced.

A loss of hot water volume

A water heater that’s dying will begin to lose its capacity to heat up enough water. You’ll still have hot water from your taps—you just won’t have as much of it. A way to measure this is if people in your house aren’t getting hot showers in the morning because the water runs out early. If the water heater is an older one, losing hot water volume often means the system is almost done.

Extensive leaking

You never want to see water leaking from a water heater (with the exception of the pressure-relief valve), but a single leak is often a basic repair. When leaks start to become common occurrences or more than one happens at the same time, it’s a major warning the water heater is deteriorating fast and repairs will be too expensive to correct the problems.


Water heaters have several defenses against corroding, but once a system becomes too old those defenses won’t be as effective. Corrosion on the tank usually means the water heater has to be replaced. If you start to see a rusty discoloration coming from the hot water taps, that can mean the inside of the tank has already rusted, and the water heater should be replaced as soon as possible. 

If you think you may need a water heater replacement in Skokie, IL, reach out to our team. We can give you professional advice that will balance the possibilities of repairs against getting a new water heater installed. We not only install standard tank water heaters, but also tankless water heaters and hybrid water heaters. You may wish to consider one of these as a replacement and take advantage of their benefits. Feel free to ask us anything about getting a new water heater. 

For expert plumbing service, installations, or maintenance contact Reliance Plumbing Sewer & Drainage, Inc. Our knowledgeable plumbers serve the North Shore and Northwest Chicago suburbs. Rely on Reliance!

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