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How To Know When It’s Time To Replace Your Hot Water System

Water With Rust From Tap

What would we do without warm water? Many of us are reliant on our warm showers, baths, and water for handwashing, cooking, laundry and cleaning. When you consider how many times you use water each day and multiply that by the number of people in your household, the demands we place on our hot water systems really add up.

Just like any other appliance, water heaters do need to be replaced in time. Usage and age take their toll, and even the most advanced hot water systems might run into problems and fail after a decade or so. Annual maintenance can help your water heater continue to operate, but if you’ve lived in your home for over eight years it’s likely you’ll need to replace your hot water tank at some point. It, therefore, pays to know what to look out for when it comes time to replace your system – keep reading for the signs.

Old hot water system

Many homeowners are faced with hot water system changes, largely due to age. But most of them aren’t able to detect when a hot water system’s on the way out. If you don’t know what to look out for, you’ll put your system and home at risk when the heater starts playing up.

You can usually expect your water heater to last between eight and ten years, with gas heaters usually lasting a little less. You should definitely consider a replacement after a decade – even if there are no problems with the heater.


  • Rusty tank or water
  • Unusual noises
  • Leaks
  • Poor water heating

Rust in the water or inlet valve

Rust is steel’s nemesis. When steel is subjected to corrosion, it begins to deteriorate and weaken. This is definitely something you don’t want in a hot water system, as you’ll likely spring a leak. It can often be difficult to tell where rust is coming from.

  • Rusty sink or bath water: There’s a good chance your heater’s at fault and rust has formed inside the tank – if so, replacement is essential.
  • Rusty water: Corroding pipes could be the cause. Check where the water’s coming from when you drain three buckets’ worth of hot water. If after three loads your water is still rusty, it’s a problem with the tank rather than with the pipes, and you’ll need to organise a replacement as soon as you can.


If you’re hearing unusual sounds coming from your hot water tank, you may have a problem on your hands. These sounds are usually detected as rumbling noises which increase in volume as the tank heats up. Households that use large amounts of water will usually notice this far more quickly and severely. Noisy hot water systems are often the result of sediment buildup. Sediment starts to form on the base of a tank as it continues to heat and reheat. After a while, it hardens and thickens on the floor of the tank and can lead to energy inefficiency and damage.

This can be prevented by flushing the tank once a year by a licensed plumber.

Leaky water heater

Ageing hot water heaters are more likely to leak. If you see a leak around your tank, you may be at risk of significant damage.

Leaks are usually caused by the metal of the tank expanding. These expansions take place as the interior of the tank is put through thousands of heating and reheating functions. While a fracture might be small at first, when it continues to expand water will likely seep through.

Leaks can also be caused by:

  • Faulty fittings or connections
  • The temperature or pressure overflow pipe

A leak in these areas might tell you there’s an issue with the fittings, or with the tank itself.

No heat

Heat loss in your water supply is likely caused by:

  • A malfunctioning thermostat
  • A heating element that’s damaged or broken
  • A tank that’s too small to service your home

No heat at home can be caused by issues with the electrical thermostat. You may benefit from a straightforward adjustment, or even just a call to your local plumber to get expert advice and service.

Contact us

For plumbing services Bathurst locals trust, choose Expert Plumbing & Solar Services Bathurst. We love helping our clients achieve their plumbing goals and needs. We pride ourselves on the quality of our customer service and on our commitment to success. Contact us on 02 6332 4992.