Have you considered upgrading to an electric water heater? If you’ve owned your home for several years, chances are your water heater has been working hard to keep the hot water flowing for your family’s daily showers, dishes, and laundry. Most traditional water heaters last 8-12 years before needing replacement. However, there are some clear indicators that can signal it’s time to upgrade your old water heater to a new, more energy efficient electric model.   

Replacing an aging unit before any leaks or failures occur can save you money and prevent serious water damage in your home. This article covers the top signs to look out for to determine if your water heater is ready for retirement.  

1. Your Current Water Heater Is Showing Its Age

One of the most obvious signs that you may need a new electric water heater is the age of your current unit. The average lifespan of a traditional water heater is only 8-12 years. As your water heater ages, it becomes more susceptible to issues like rust, sediment buildup, and leaks.   

If your current heater is getting close to or is past that 8-12 year mark, it’s a good indicator that you’ll want to start shopping for a replacement. Rust and corrosion inside the tank are common symptoms of an aging unit nearing the end of its useful life. Small leaks may start to develop as well.  

Don’t wait until your old water heater fails completely. Be proactive and watch for signs of wear. If your system is reaching old age and showing any issues, the best course is to replace it before you experience an emergency hot water outage. Upgrading to an electric water heater ensures increased efficiency and performance compared to an older unit.  

2. Frequent Repairs Needed

If you find yourself needing repairs for your water heater more than once or twice a year, this is a clear sign that your unit is reaching the end of its lifespan. Needing frequent repairs is not only inconvenient but can also be costly over time.  

When a water heater exceeds 10 years of age, the tank and internal components become susceptible to corrosion and mineral build-up. This causes more breakdowns and leakage. If you are constantly having to call a plumber to replace heating elements, thermostats, valves and other parts, the system is showing obvious wear.  

Rather than continuing to sink money into repairing an aging, inefficient water heater, it is wiser to invest in a new replacement unit. This will give you an upgraded system with modern energy-saving features. Plus, you’ll again have hot water on demand without worrying about surprise failures.  

3. Not Enough Hot Water

Hot Bath with Flowers

One of the most common signs that you need a new electric water heater is if you find yourself frequently running out of hot water for household needs. If your daily showers turn lukewarm halfway through, or you can’t run enough hot water to fill the bathtub for your kids, this indicates your current heater is no longer capable of keeping up with hot water demand.  

When your water heater is old or failing, you may notice the hot water runs out much faster than it used to. The heater may still heat water, but due to mineral buildup and sediment in the tank over time, it has lost capacity and efficiency. As a result, you’re left with tepid showers and half-filled bathtubs. Insufficient hot water supply is not only inconvenient but can disrupt your entire household’s routine.   

4. High Energy Bills

If your current water heater is old or inefficient, you may notice a spike in your energy bills. An aging water heater has to work harder to heat water, using more electricity or gas in the process. This can add up to hundreds of extra dollars per year that you’re paying unnecessarily.  

Upgrading to a new, energy-efficient electric water heater can save you up to $315 per year on utility bills, according to Energy Star. That’s money back in your pocket. Electric heaters with foam insulation and other advanced materials reduce standby heat loss. Look for a model rated tier 3 or higher by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency for maximum savings.  

5. Water Odor Or Discoloration

Rusty, metallic smells or brown water are signs of internal corrosion in your water heater. As the tank and pipes corrode over time, rust particles and sediment get released into the water supply. This can cause unpleasant odors as well as discolored or cloudy water coming from your fixtures and taps. Breathing in metallic fumes from the hot water is also a health concern.  

If your water smells like rotten eggs, the magnesium corrosion rod in the tank may be worn out and needs replacing. But a persistent rotten egg odor usually means there are bacteria accumulating in the tank. Bacteria love to feed on the minerals and sediment inside corroded tanks.  

Replacing the anode rod or flushing the water heater may help reduce odors and discoloration temporarily. But typically, these issues will return until the whole unit is replaced. Rusty water and bad smells indicate the inner tank has significant corrosion and continuing to use it risks leakage or more severe failures. If you notice unpleasant odors or discoloration in your hot water, it’s a sign the water heater should be replaced for safety and health reasons.  

6. Limited Space

Traditional water heaters can take up a significant amount of space in your home, especially if you have a smaller utility or living area. If you’re looking to free up space or install a water heater in a tight spot, consider upgrading to a tankless electric water heater. These compact units can be installed in various locations, providing flexibility and convenience.  

7. Leaking Or Water Damage

This is one of the most obvious signs that your current water heater is at the end of its life and needs to be replaced. Water leaks or signs of water damage around your current water heater should never be ignored. Leaks can lead to significant property damage and potential mold growth. Upgrading to a new electric water heater gives you the opportunity to start with a clean slate and prevent further water-related issues in your home.  

Benefits Of Electric Water Heaters

Electric water heaters provide a number of advantages over gas or oil models. They are extremely energy efficient, providing hot water for a fraction of the cost of other types of water heaters.  

Electric water heaters convert 90% or more of the energy they use into heat, compared to just 55-60% efficiency for gas models. This translates into much lower monthly operating costs. Electric heaters only need to run when hot water is needed, while gas heaters must maintain a constantly burning pilot light.  

In addition, there are often rebates and tax credits available for upgrading to an energy efficient electric water heater from your utility company or provincial/federal government. Always check for any incentives before purchasing a new unit.  

Tankless electric water heaters are compact and wall-mounted, saving valuable floor space compared to traditional water heaters with bulky storage tanks. Additionally, with no storage tank, the risk of leaks and water damage associated with traditional water heaters is greatly minimized.  

The Best Brands Of Electric Water Heaters

Technician Fixing a Water Heater

When selecting a new electric water heater, it’s important to choose a reliable brand with a good warranty and customer service reputation. Here are some top brands to consider:


Rheem is one of the leading manufacturers of water heaters in North America. They offer electric water heaters in a variety of sizes with warranties up to 12 years. Their Professional Series and Marathon lines are known for reliability and energy efficiency. The Rheem ProTerra is a good 50-gallon electric model.  

A.O. Smith

A.O. Smith is another major brand that makes reliable electric water heaters. Their Voltex hybrid heat pump water heaters can save up to 61% on energy costs compared to standard electric models.  

Bradford White

Bradford White electric water heaters have stainless steel components and resist corrosion well. Their Defender Safety System helps prevent leaks.

When picking out your new electric water heater, consult with a plumber and consider the tank size, energy rating, and warranty. Choosing a reputable brand like Rheem, A.O. Smith, or Bradford White will provide you with a quality and reliable water heating solution.  

Enjoy The Energy Saving Benefits Of An Electric Water Heater Today!

If you’ve been struggling with any of these issues – frequent repairs, not enough hot water, strange odors or discolored water – it’s likely time to replace your aging water heater. The average water heater lasts between 8-12 years, so if yours is getting up there in age, be on the lookout for these warning signs.  

Replacing it now before it fails completely can save you from dealing with a disastrous leak or flood. Going with an efficient electric model from a reputable brand will provide you with lower energy bills, an ample and consistent supply of hot water, and peace of mind knowing it’s backed by a solid warranty.  

Remember, upgrading your water heater not only improves performance and reliability but also contributes to a more efficient and environmentally friendly home. If you have any questions about upgrading to an electric water heater, consult one of the expert energy advisors at Provincial Smart Home Services and they will assist you with any concerns you might have. 

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