Should You Replace Your Water Heater Before It Fails?

Professional plumber checking a boiler and pipes

Mar 14, 2024


Most businesses need hot water. Be it a restaurant, gym, laundromat, or educational facility, a business cannot function with a broken water heater. If you have an outdated heater that is on its last legs, it is most likely draining your profits without you even realizing it. Getting a new unit before that happens can be a good idea to keep everything operating smoothly. Let’s take a closer look at why being proactive about replacing your water heater makes sense.

Water Heater Replacement May be a Smarter Move for Your Business When You Notice These Signs

Whether it’s a big storage tank, a sleek tankless unit, or an advanced heat pump, no system lasts forever. Their lifespan typically falls between 10 to 20 years, but this can vary based on what type of system you have, how well you keep it up, and how much it is used. As the unit ages, you might call for repairs more often. Frequent repairs are not only a hassle but the costs also start adding up, making it expensive to keep an older hot water heater running.

Keeping an eye out for the following signs of wear and tear will help prevent unexpected business disruptions and keep you from spending a fortune on emergency replacements.

Inconsistent water temperatures

Having water that is sometimes hot, sometimes not can be a big problem for your customers. This cold water issue may mean the heating system is aging, parts are wearing out, or it might not be the right size for what your business needs. If your water heater cannot handle the demand, it may be time to consider whether it needs replacing.

Unusual noises

A well-working heater should be quiet. If it starts making banging, popping, hissing, or other strange noises, it’s trying to tell you something is wrong. Inside the unit, sediment from the water can build up over time. As it gets heated over and over, it can create that popping or rumbling you hear. If you have a tankless system—which heats water directly as it flows through—noises can mean there is a buildup of minerals on the heating element (scaling). Your system could be using more energy to heat the same amount of water, which can wear it out faster.

Leaks and moisture

Water puddles or dampness around your water heating system, rusty water, and visible corrosion are red flags. It does not matter if it is a large tank that holds several hundred gallons of hot water or a tankless unit that heats water right when you need it. When water leaking becomes persistent, it could mean that the tank has a crack (which cannot be repaired, only replaced) or there is a loose sacrificial anode rod connection or a failing valve (which can be fixed).

It’s important to not ignore the water heater leaking. Water spilling out can ruin floors, encourage mold growth, and cause electrical hazards if it gets near other equipment. Not to mention wasted water is going to hike up your energy bill.

Reduced hot water pressure

Ever turned on a shower or sink and the water just trickles out instead of flowing strongly? For factories where equipment needs regular cleaning or hotels where guests expect a decent shower, not having enough water pressure is never good.

This problem might mean a buildup inside the pipes or the heater itself. In tankless systems, a blockage or malfunction can slow down the water flow, making the pressure drop. It’s not only frustrating, but it also makes cleaning and other jobs take longer. If cleaning out the unit or repairing the damaged parts does not help, you may have to get it replaced.

Rusty or muddy water

When the water coming out of the taps looks rusty or muddy, it could be that the inside of the tank is corroding. This corrosion never stays inside the unit; it tends to travel through the pipes and comes out where you can see it. Corroded water can harm equipment, stain fixtures, and pose health risks. If you are running a healthcare or food-based facility where clean water is critical, you may have no choice but to install a new system.

Surging energy bills

Seeing your utility bills spike without a clear reason can be as puzzling as it is alarming. If your business relies on a hot water heater, this bill can offer clues about its health. An efficient unit should use a predictable amount of energy to heat water. But as a unit gets older or suffers damage, it starts using more energy to do the same job.

This can happen if the system is old, there is sediment buildup inside making it harder for the heater to warm up water, or maintenance has not been done for a while. Since every extra dollar spent on energy is a dollar not spent elsewhere, you may need to consider electric water heater replacement.

Should I Replace My Water Heater Before It Fails?

Modern hot water heaters come equipped with advanced safety features that most older models lack. These features are designed to protect against common hazards such as overheating, pressure buildup, and gas leaks. For example, many new models include:

  • Automatic shut-off controls to prevent overheating and the risk of fires
  • Temperature and pressure relief valves that open to release water if the temperature or pressure inside the tank becomes too high, preventing explosions
  • Flame arrestor screens on gas water heaters to prevent flames from escaping the unit and resulting in fires
  • Enhanced insulation to minimize heat loss and reduce the risk of burns upon contact with the unit’s exterior

As a result, the regulatory standards for commercial heating units have also evolved. Upgrading to a newer system will ensure you are complying with the latest codes set by the U.S. Department of Energy as well as your local jurisdiction. This way, you can minimize the risk of any incidents that could lead to injuries, damages, or legal action against your business. In the event of an accident or inspection, demonstrating that you have invested in a compliant, safe water heating system can protect you from fines, lawsuits, and reputational damage.

Choose Coastal Commercial Services for Water Heater Repair and Replacement

Are you having trouble with your commercial-grade hot water system? Get in touch with our licensed plumbers at Coastal Commercial Services today. We offer professional assessments to help you gauge whether it can be repaired or if it is time to upgrade to a newer, more energy-efficient model. We have over 20 years of experience in repairing and installing a wide range of heater models of all major brands. You can get insight into all the options that match your operational requirements and financial planning, and make the right call for your building.

If you’re wondering whether you need water heater replacement or services, call us at (772) 341-0094 to schedule an inspection.