It happened again. You’re taking a hot shower and the hot water is going off and on intermittently. There could be another hot water outlet in use, but you know that’s not the case. Sooner or later, your water heater is going to need to be replaced, like any other appliance. But when?

Water heaters typically last 8 to 12 years. Perhaps that doesn’t seem like a very long time on the short end, but water heaters work around the clock. And, they have to deal with water and corrosion. A lot of corrosion, including from the inside out.


Water heaters manufactured today are much more energy efficient than 5 to 10 years ago. With water heater efficiency mandates in effect April 16, 2015 and new technologies, the water heater industry has been through quite a shake up. It has also left some consumers a little confused when purchasing a new water heater.

Yes, new water heaters are more energy efficient, but they have also grown in size for insulating purposes in order to meet efficiency standards. This means you’re going to need more space for your new water heater. Not a lot, about 2 inches taller and 2 inches wider, but that could be a tight fit for some homes.


Many single family homes have water heater tanks 55 gallons or larger. It is this category that has seen the most changes with efficiency standards in place. Electric water heaters are equipped with heat pump technology. Certain gas-burning water heaters are equipped with high-efficiency condensing technology.

Talk to your plumbing professional to see what options best suit your home. How much hot water do you actually use? Do you always have plenty? Maybe a slightly smaller tank would suffice. There are many variables to consider. But, if your current water heater is older, start planning now so that the transition goes smoothly.


Whether your current water heater is good for a few more years or you’re upgrading to a high-efficiency model, it pays to know how to take care of the appliance. After all, take care of your water heater today and it will take care of your hot water needs through the years.

  • Every season, check the temperature and pressure relief (T&PR) valve. It’s located on the side of the tank. There may be a tube connected to it.
  • Flip the leaver quickly (be careful, there will be very hot water and possibly steam coming out) to ensure it releases water. If this device ever fails, you may have a catastrophic tank failure.
  • Next, also every season, drain about 1 gallon of water at the drain bib. This helps release sediment and other impurities that have settled to the bottom of the water heater.
  • Lastly, have your water heater serviced every year by your plumber. A quick checkup can keep your water heater running at top efficiency and help it last longer.

If you have questions about water heaters, new efficiency standards or need any other plumbing services, contact us at MN Plumbing & Home Services today (952)469-8341.