Tips for getting ready to replace your water heater


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Water heaters generally last 8 to 10 years. The process of the water being heated and cooled constanly over those 8 to 10 years creates a lot of calcification on the inside of the tank.  This can (and usually does) lead to tank corrosion and or guming up the thermostat sensor, making the tank leak (in the case of tank corrosion) or causing the heating element not to turn on when it's suppose to and run longer then it's suppose to leading to more corrosion.  So depending on the quality of your water, your water heater will probably be on borrowed time after 8 years.


So if you need to replace your water heater, whether doing it yourself or having a professional do it, here are the things to note when finding a replacement.


  • Know what kind you have (natural gas, propane, electric, or point of use)
  • What size. (gallons)
  • Whether it's a power vent or standard/gravity vent.
  • The dimensions (height, width)

    Most water heaters should have a small label similar to this




    What we're looking for here is capacity and gas type.



    Not all labels look like this one as they very from one manufacturer to another. But they're all  pretty similar. 


    To know what kind of vent you have just look at the top of the water heater. If you see a plastic (PVC) pipe then you have a power vent.  If you see metal then you have a standard vent.  If you see no vent then you have an electric water heater. 


    The next important thing is to measure the height.  Water heaters usually come in a Tall and a Short version even when the capacity is the same.  If you have a Tall version you want to replace it with the same as to make installation easier.  Width is not that important unless your water heater is in a really tight space and technically plumbing code has minimum distances for the front back and side object can be around the water heater. 


    Knowing the type, size and height will have you better prepared when you go to one of those department stores or make a call to a professional


    Sheppard Plumbing Blog Page