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W.C. Butler Heating and Air Conditioning Blog

How to Tell You Need a New Water Heater


When you’re accustomed to getting hot water for your morning shower day after day, you may imagine that you will always have hot water. However, you need to remember that a water heater is a mechanical appliance that wears down with time. One day, it will need to be replaced. 

We don’t want you to get caught off guard when your water heater finally fails and you need to schedule a replacement. It’s not fun to be without hot water for however long it takes to have a new one installed. We’d prefer you get ahead of the problem and arrange for a water heater replacement in Rocky Mount, VA on your schedule so you only have to deal with a short period without hot running water.

How can you do that? We’ll take you through some of the signs that your water heater is coming closer and closer to the end of the line.

Extreme system age

How long can you expect a water heater to last? Modern water heaters last for around 12 years (although electrical models and tankless water heaters will last for longer), and we don’t recommend trying to push any water heater past 15 years, even if it still seems to work well outwardly. The risk of a sudden breakdown becomes much higher, as do expensive repairs and costly energy bills. 


When you see any signs of corrosion on your water heater, it usually means the unit is finished. Water heaters are designed to resist corrosion for many years with proper maintenance. When corrosion does start to appear, it means the water heater is declining in multiple ways. There are some parts of a water heater that can be replaced if they corrode, but you’ll want to check with a technician about this. 

Reddish discoloration in your hot water

If you run your hot water taps and see a reddish-brown discoloration in the water from the faucets, it often means the interior of the water heater tank has already rusted through. The discoloration could also come from sediment, so have a technician investigate to see if you’ve got a fully rusted water heater on your hands that’s ready to retire, or if the water heater tank just needs to be flushed.

High energy costs

When a water heater starts to fail with age and wear, it will cost more and more to run. When you notice a continual rise in your water and energy bills, it’s a smart idea to have the water heater checked. If repairs can’t fix the problem, it’s time for a new water heater.


Are you discovering water leaking and puddling around the water heater tank? This is not good! A single leak may be something a technician can repair, but extensive leaks are a warning the water heater is almost finished. 

Low hot water volume

Are people in your household going with lukewarm or cold showers in the morning when they never had this trouble before? That sunrise stampede to the showers often means the water heater is losing its capacity and soon won’t be able to provide any hot water. 

W.C. Butler Heating and Air Conditioning offer service for water heaters, including replacements. Let us take care of your comfort!

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