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Top 7 Signs You Need a New Water Heater

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A hot shower can make all the difference when you’ve had a stressful day. And that’s when you realize the value of your water heater. It’s constantly working, from dishes and laundry to your nightly bubble baths. But most of the time we don’t think about our water heaters until something goes wrong. So, you may be wondering how to tell if you need a new water heater. That’s where we can help.

In this blog, we’ll explore the top 5 signs that you need a new water heater and how to get a replacement before your showers turn cold.

Our experts at Lee’s Air, Plumbing, & Heating are ready to help homeowners all over Central and Northern California with their water heater needs. Contact us today for your water heater consultation and advice on upgrading your hot water system.

Signs Your Water Heater is Struggling

Sometimes it’s hard to know when the appliances in your home need to be replaced. But when it comes to your water heater, the evidence is pretty hard to miss! Here are some signs that your water heater might be near the end of the road.

Strange Taste & Smell

One of the telltale signs that your water heater needs to be replaced is a strange taste or smell coming from your taps. Over time, sediment rises from the bottom of the tank and mixes with your water, causing a metallic taste and smell.

Along with a strong taste or odor, your water may also be discolored or brown. This could be an indicator that your tank is beginning to rust. Rusting tanks lead to leaks and eventually holes in your water heater if the problem isn’t addressed.

However, in Central California, brown water can also be the product of galvanized pipes. Either way, we have you covered with repiping service or a new hot water tank. When your water runs brown, call Lee’s Air, Plumbing, & Heating right away to schedule a service with a hot water expert.

Your Tank is Leaking

A leak is another sign that your water heater needs to be replaced as soon as possible.

Often, leaks are caused by a pressure build-up in your tank. Build-ups happen when the temperature and water pressure are too high, or when the unit’s relief valve is not working properly. You can easily spot a leak by moisture or puddles along the bottom of your tank, or water corrosion along the sides.

It’s important not to neglect a leaking tank, as it could damage flooring and drywall. In extreme cases, high pressure can even lead to a tank explosion, which is extremely dangerous and costly.

Your safety is our top priority. Call Lee’s Air, Plumbing, & Heating today and one of our plumbing certified experts will find you the perfect unit to fit your needs, and to keep your family safe.

Inconsistent Water Temperature

Inconsistent water temperature is usually caused by a malfunctioning heating element in your tank and is one of the major signs that your unit may need to be replaced. A technician can evaluate the heating components in your water heater and let you know if a replacement is the best decision.

If your tap water is always coming out cold, but your hot water tank pilot light is on, you’re losing money. Efficient water heaters use the gas supply to keep water hot when you need it. Consistent and efficient heating is one way that a new water heater can save you money in the long run.

Frequent Water Heater Repairs

Are you constantly searching the internet for quick fixes for your water heater? Or are you calling a repairman more than once a year? Then it’s time to look into a replacement water heater for your home.

Water heaters are designed to supply you with peace of mind and hot water for years. Constant repairs are costly and will not make up for a faulty unit. Depending on the age and the cost of your repair, it might make sense to purchase a new water heater instead.

At Lee’s Air, Plumbing, & Heating, our plumbing specialists will always give you upfront pricing on all of the repair and replacement options available. But it’s wise to weigh your choices before paying for yet another repair.

Higher Energy Bills

One of the most common signs you need a new hot water heater is a noticeable increase in your energy bills. Older water heaters or those that require frequent repairs become less efficient over time. This inefficiency means they need to work harder to heat the same amount of water, leading to higher energy consumption.

So, if you’re wondering how to tell if you need a new water heater, don’t ignore your bills. If you notice a spike in your bills and your water heater is nearing the end of its life span, it might be time to consider calling Lee’s for your new hot water heater in Sacramento.

Additionally, advancements in technology mean that new water heaters are more energy-efficient. Replacing your old unit can be a cost-effective decision in the long run. Modern water heaters, especially tankless models, use less energy to heat water, directly impacting your monthly energy costs.

Strange Noises

One of the most unmistakable signs you need a new hot water heater is the presence of strange noises coming from the tank. As we mentioned, sediment builds up at the bottom of your water heater tank over time. This sediment hardens as it is heated and reheated, leading to rumbling noises, cracks, and pops. These sounds are not just annoying but also indicate that your water heater is working inefficiently and may be close to failing.

The sediment buildup can also cause damage to the tank’s interior, leading to leaks and other plumbing issues. If you start noticing these unusual sounds, it’s important to consult with licensed plumbers who can advise whether a simple repair will suffice or if a full water heater replacement in Sacramento is needed.

How Old is Your Water Heater?

With proper maintenance, your water heater should last up to 12 years. But even well cared for units will start to fail eventually. As your water tank ages, sediment builds up in the system and this can cause knocking and damage. Fresno is known for its hard water, which doesn’t help.

Knocking occurs when your water heater is in use. A whirlpool effect is created, spinning larger chunks of sediment around your tank, knocking it against the walls, causing erosion on the tank itself. Eventually, this impacts the integrity of your water heater.

You can check the age of your heater by the manufacturer’s label on the side of the tank. If the label is missing, you can use the serial number to decode the age of your unit. Not sure what to look for? Our plumbers are familiar with the various brands, types, and sizes of heaters, and can easily spot whether or not it’s time for a replacement.

So, It’s Time for a New Water Heater

As you can see, there can be many signs you need a new hot water heater. In cases where your water heater is making strange noises, the tank is leaking, or the entire unit requires frequent water heater repair services, it may be time to consider a replacement rather than continual repairs. A leaking water heater, in particular, can be a symptom of a serious problem like tank corrosion, which often warrants a full replacement.

You’ve decided that it’s time to replace your water heater, but how do you know what type of water heater is best for your home? It depends on your family’s needs and how much water you normally use.

Sizing Your Water Heater

Sizing a water heater appropriately for your household’s needs is crucial to ensure a consistent and efficient hot water supply. If you’re experiencing issues like insufficient hot water, it’s often a sign that your current water heater may not be adequately sized. Factors to consider can include the number of occupants in your home, the number of bathrooms, and your typical usage patterns, such as simultaneous showers or using appliances like dishwashers and washing machines.

It’s also important to anticipate future needs, such as a growing family or additional appliances. If you’re replacing an old water heater, consider if your hot water demand has increased since the last installation. Be mindful that larger tanks typically provide more hot water, but they also consume more energy.

Going Tankless

At Lee’s Air, Plumbing, & Heating we install both traditional tank water heaters, and tankless water heater systems. Picking the best water heater for your home is all about matching your system to your lifestyle.

Tankless water heaters are a great choice for households that use a lot of hot water. Because water is heated instantly as the hot water tap is turned on, you never run out of a warm water supply. Tankless systems are usually more expensive but last longer and are typically more efficient.

If an upgrade to a tankless water heater is something you’re considering, let a plumbing pro at Lee’s help you weigh the pros (and cons).

Installation & Cost

The cost of a new water heater depends on the size and model of the unit. Our professional plumbers will walk you through the different options available and make recommendations based on the size of your home and the number of people living there.

Installing the most energy-efficient unit means finding the perfect fit for your family’s demands. It’s also important to know that financing options are available to make sure you’ve got hot water when you need it the most.


Recognizing the signs you need a new water heater is just the first step. The next is to find a reliable service for your water heater replacement. Lee’s Air, Plumbing & Heating offers expert water heater installation in Sacramento and beyond. Our team of professionals can help you choose the right water heater for your needs and ensure a seamless installation process.

Lee’s Air, Plumbing, & Heating guarantees 100% satisfaction on all of our installation work, but it’s important to be familiar with the manufacturer’s warranties when considering a new water heater. Longer guarantees protect you against future water heater repairs.

Hot Water & Continuous Comfort

Your family’s comfort is our top priority. Recognizing the signs that your water heater is near the end of its lifetime is one way to prevent a total tank tragedy. Know the age of your tank and think about a replacement when repairs are frequent. And leaks, discoloration, or foul-smelling water are always reasons to call a professional.

Sign up for Lee’s Air, Plumbing, & Heating’s Club Advantage Membership today and you’ll receive all discounts, benefits, and annual maintenance reminders on your tank or tankless water heater. You’ll get peace of mind knowing that priority service is only a phone call away.

Is it time to upgrade your water heater? Call us today to schedule your installation, and to enjoy the convenience and comfort of hot water for years to come.

Thomas Howard

Written by Thomas Howard

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