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When Should I Replace My Water Heater?

Thornton & Grooms plumbers can install Navien tankless water heaters

If your water heater isn’t working as well as it used to, it might be time to consider replacing it. While the decision may feel overwhelming, answering a few simple questions can help to point you in the right direction:

  • Is my water heater older than 10 years?
  • Have I been negligent about maintaining my water heater?
  • Does my water heater require frequent repairs?
  • Is my hot water rust colored?
  • Are my water bills going up?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, replacing your water heater is a good option.


Unsure if a repair is a better option for you? Check out our article for professional guidance, or reach out to one of our team members for help at (248) 644-7810 to get your water heater repaired or replaced.

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Question #1: Is My Water Heater Older Than 10 Years?

If your water heater is 10–15+ years old, it’s a good idea to replace it. While repairs may slightly extend the life of your water heater, it will still definitely need replacement soon. It’s also more cost-effective to replace it than to fix it and then replace it.

Question #2: Have I Been Negligent About Maintaining My Water Heater?

If you haven’t been keeping up with regular at-home maintenance of your water heater, it’s going to have a shorter lifespan—meaning your water heater might only last around 10 years.

Life often gets in the way of keeping up with home maintenance. It is a good idea to regularly check your water heater for leaks, flush your tank twice a year, and replace your anode rod every 3–5 years to keep your water heater in good shape. If the upkeep feels like too much to handle on your own, schedule a periodic water heater check with Thornton & Grooms, or join our Home Care Club for annual water heater maintenance checks to save money in the long run.

Question #3: Does My Water Heater Require Frequent Repairs?

Because repair costs and severity vary, the type of repair your water heater needs will impact whether it’s more economical to repair or replace it. These repairs can cost between $200 and $4,000 in Michigan, while replacements can cost between $1,500 and $7,000.

Generally, we advise homeowners to stick with the 50% rule—if the cost of the repair cost is 50% or greater than the replacement cost, you should replace rather than repair your water heater. If you aren’t sure where your water heater repair falls on this comprehensive price range, call a plumber to schedule a professional repair estimate.

Question #4: Is My Hot Water Rust Colored?

Rust-colored water may indicate corrosion in your water heater tank. If the water is only rust-colored when you turn on the hot tap and/or you haven’t replaced your anode rod in more than 3–5 years, your tank is probably suffering from corrosion and needs replacement.

Rust-colored water coming from both the hot and cold taps could mean your water pipes are rusting. Replacing your water heater will not solve this issue; you should have your water supply lines evaluated by a professional plumber.

Question #5: Are My Water Bills Going Up?

High water bills could signal a serious problem requiring the immediate replacement of your water heater. One reason your water bill could be increasing is if your water heater tank is leaking. A tank leak could lead to a burst water heater, which would not only require the replacement of your water heater but could also result in expensive water damage.

However, your water bill may be increasing because your water heater is becoming less efficient due to corrosion, scale buildup or another reason. Because this is a complex issue, it may be good to contact a professional for a second opinion.

Call Thornton & Grooms for Plumbers You Can Trust

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Thornton & Groom plumbers are ready to help you replace your water heater

We emphasize a “prevention first” approach because we care more about people than profits. When water heater replacements are necessary, choose the company with over 80 years of experience and 49k+ positive reviews. Our replacement specialists are experienced plumbers, and we offer same-day service and up-front pricing. Install your new water heater today!

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