SMO Energy

If your water bills have been higher than usual, it may be the result of an old, inefficient water heater. Your water heater puts in a lot of work day in day out, and can become less efficient over time. How do you know when it’s time to replace your unit, and what are some options for new models?

The SMO Energy team has a helpful guide on when you should consider finding a new water heater, and some tips on what to look for in your new one.

When To Replace The Unit

The average life span of a water heater is typically 10 years. Depending on the type of unit, it could be anywhere from eight to 12 years. If it’s around that time, you should consider a replacement. If your water heater is any older than that, you’re lucky if it’s hasn’t been leaking or leaving you with cold showers.

There are also a number of clues that can tell you if it’s time to get new equipment. If you notice any leaks around the base of the tank, then it’s probably time for a replacement. Also, if it works erratically, or not at all, then it’s time.

Researching Potential Replacements

When you do replace the unit, you can always go with the same type if that one worked well for you. However, this is a great time to consider upgrade possibilities. Depending on how your family is growing and changing, you may opt for more or less water capacity.

When you’re looking for a new water heater, here are some features you should consider:

Gallon capacity

40- and 50-gallon heaters are the most common.

Recovery rate

The number of gallons the unit will heat in an hour.


Height and width. The physical space in your home may limit your ability to upgrade the unit's capacity. Think about how much space you have.

Energy efficiency ratings

Check for a sticker on the side of the unit that lists the estimated annual cost of operation.

Selecting Your New Water Heater

New water heaters are much more efficient thanks to government regulatory changes implemented in April 2015. It’s important to note that in order to make these units more efficient, manufacturers had to add more insulation and increase storage tank sizes of tank heaters. This isn’t a big issue, but it’s something to remember if you need your water heater to fit in a small space, like under the stairs or in a closet.

When you decide to buy a new water heater, you can decide if you want to get a larger tank, decrease the tank size, or go with a tankless water heater. A tankless water heater offers superior energy efficiency, with a virtually unlimited supply of hot water.

Before purchasing your new water heater, take a look at your old unit. There should be a nameplate on the side that shows the following:

Electric units will also list the wattage capacity and voltage of the heating element. This information will help serve as a starting point for you when you’re having the conversation about the type of water heater you’d like to get.

Selecting and installing a new water heater can be difficult. It’s always better to consult with a professional. At SMO Energy, our technicians can consult you on your water heater options and install a new, efficient water heater that your family will love.