Water heaters work away day by day without anyone taking notice. That is until something goes wrong and an arctic-blast in the shower sends you running to find out what's going on. The question of the day will be simple: Repair it or replace it?
Conventional waters heaters have a life of 10 to 13 years. If yours is near the end of that time period, it's pretty clear that replacement is the best choice. (It may even be the only choice. We'll get to that later.)
On the bright side, new water heaters feature up to 20% greater efficiency than their older counterparts. You can skip the ugly water heater blanket route because manufacturers have done the work for you and injected foam insulation between the outer shell and the tank. Another bonus is that glass liners in new tanks resist the corrosion that plagued older models.
You also have the option to replace your old water heater with an energy efficient tankless water heater. These provide hot water on demand, so you'll save big on energy bills by not keeping hot water on standby 24/7.
Waters heaters are pretty simple devices, with very few moving parts. Troubleshooting isn't that difficult, because there aren't many things that can go wrong. These are usually relatively inexpensive fixes that your plumber can take care of for you. Here are a few things to check for: