Everyone pretty much takes their water heater for granted. That is, until there’s no hot water. Here are some signs you need a new water heater:

  • Its Older Than 10 Years If your water heater is more than ten years old, it is close to its life expectancy. As water heaters get older, they become less and less efficient – not heating as well, and more likely to spring a leak. Not sure how old it is? Check the tank for a manufacturer’s sticker near the top. The serial number’s first characters/numbers generally represent the year it was made. You can also check the manufacturer’s website. Consider replacing it at your convenience, BEFORE it fails.
  • Rusty Water If your hot water is rust –colored, your hot water heater tank may be rusting on the inside. This means it will start leaking soon as well. To see for sure if your hot water is rusty, fill a few five-gallon buckets with hot water. Do the same thing with cold water. If only the hot water is rusty, the problem is with your hot water heater. If the cold water is rusty too, you have a bigger problem and should call a plumber to find the source of the issue.
  • No Hot Water or Not Enough Hot Water If the water doesn’t heat at all, or if your shower starts out warm and turns to cold, your water heater is likely failing. Check the temperature knob on it to make sure someone hasn’t bumped it, but if it’s set right and you’re stuck with a cold shower, call the plumber.
  • Water Heater Leaking If the water heater is leaking, it may be time to replace it. It could be leaking from the top at the cold water inlet and hot water outlet connections. That could just mean the connection needs to be tightened.


If it’s leaking from the pressure relief valve (the valve on the side with a pipe running down to the floor), there is excess pressure in the water heater tank. Your water heater expansion tank may have failed. It could also be an issue with the water heater itself.


If the water heater is leaking from the bottom of the tank, the only solution is to replace the water heater. You may want to replace the expansion tank at the same time, unless it is brand new.


Any leak around your water heater means you should call a licensed plumber to ensure safe repairs.

Whether you have a tankless water heater, electric water heater or gas water heater, Five Star Plumbing can help. We make water heater repairs and install new water heaters throughout the Baltimore County area, including Harford County, Cecil County and Howard County. If we’re replacing your water heater, we will drain the old one and remove it.

Call us today at 410-836-0118 to schedule an appointment. We’ll ask you a few questions about the problems you are having, the make, model and age of your hot water heater, if you have an expansion tank, if it’s gas or electric, how many people live in your home, etc. This way we can provide you with a replacement water heater and water expansion that will serve your needs.