Replacing a hot water system is something we all have to go through at least once in our lives. Unfortunately, this can become a rather costly exercise because you have to take the old one out, buy a new unit, and then have the new unit installed. Therefore, it’s invaluable to do your research first.

Four Things to Consider Before Replacing Your Hot Water System

When you’re considering an upgrade, think carefully about these questions:

  • is your current hot water system showing signs that something is wrong?
  • how old is your current hot water system?
  • what size and type of hot water system will best suit your current household needs?
  • what are the costs involved?

We’ll discuss these questions in detail to help you find the answers and decide on the best way forward.

1. What Are the Signs That Something Is Wrong With Your Hot Water System?

Just because your hot water system has done something for as long as you’ve had it, that “something” isn’t necessarily “normal.” Therefore, knowing the signs that indicate a problem with your hot water system can help you identify if it’s time for some repairs or even a replacement.

Is Your Water Hot Enough, For Long Enough?

Like anything in life, a hot water heater deteriorates with age. If your unit used to heat enough water for the whole family to shower in the morning, but now the unlucky last person gets a cold awakening, it could be time for an upgrade. Or, maybe your hot water system isn’t producing water that’s as hot as it used to be, and you don’t even need to open the cold tap. Another default is when it takes much longer than usual for your hot water to heat up, and you have to budget an extra few minutes to get ready in the morning.



Is Your Hot Water Unit Making Unusual Sounds?

As hot water systems heat up the water, they will make certain sounds, but it’s worth knowing which sounds are unusual.

Unusual sounds that could indicate problems include:

  • banging,
  • cracking,
  • hissing,
  • popping

Is There Discoloured Water Coming From Your Taps?

Luckily, water that’s discoloured is easily recognisable. Red, brown or rust-coloured water can indicate corrosion in your hot water tank, a sediment build-up, or rust in the pipes or tank.

Is Your Hot Water System Leaking?

Unresolved leaking can be problematic and expensive because it can lead to water damage in walls, cabinets and floors.

Leaks in a hot water system can come from:

  • the inlet or outlet connections,
  • the pressure relief valve,
  • corrosion occurring around the fittings, or
  • a crack in the tank.

2. How Old Is Your Hot Water System?

Hot water systems generally live to be between 10 and 12 years old. Well maintained systems can last up to 15 years. Once your hot water system is getting close to 10 years old, you should begin thinking about a replacement and start making financial arrangements and savings to do so. It’s better to be prepared for replacement than having an emergency situation that you have to fork out for, out of pocket.

Four Things to Consider Before Replacing Your Hot Water System - kitchen faucet

3. Which Hot Water System Should You Choose in Replacement?

Buying a newer version of the same type of hot water heater is the most common and cost-effective option. But, just because you haven’t had any problems with your existing hot water system before, it doesn’t necessarily mean that buying the same thing is your best choice this time around. You might have a relatively small tank, and your family has split the showering between morning and night for as long as you can remember to ensure everyone gets their share of hot water. But, it doesn’t have to be that way – you can replace your unit with a bigger storage tank or an instant water heater. But also consider if your kids have left the nest and it’s only ever mum and dad at home, you can very well down-scale to a smaller hot water system to save money.

4. What Are the Installation Costs?

When you’re budgeting, keep in mind that as well as the cost of the new unit, you also have to pay for installation. The price of installing different hot water systems will require different things, so there isn’t a set one-size-fits-all answer.

Installation costs will be dependant on:

  • how intricate the job is, such as if you are relocating your hot water system and require extra plumbing ( take note that some new systems have to be installed outdoors),
  • if your new system needs a tempering valve,
  • the delivery fees of the hot water system, and
  • the disposal costs of your old system.

Speak to Specialist First

Before spending large amounts of money on your hot water replacement, have a plumber come in and assess your hot water heater and provide some professional advice. If your hot water system is only a couple of years old but shows signs of something being wrong, it likely just needs some repairs or maintenance instead of replacing the entire unit. A plumber will give professional advice on whether you need an upgrade, downgrade or replacement, depending on what they diagnose with your hot water system. They will recommend which hot water heater options would best suit your household needs, considering size and running costs. Bayside Plumbing has reliable plumbers with same day service. Consult a plumber if you want to save money on electricity, switch to natural gas and be more energy-efficient, or just find the best replacement for the hot water system in your home.

Four Things to Consider Before Replacing Your Hot Water System - plumber

Key Takeaways

Replacing your hot water system can save you money, save you time – and even save you goosebumps while you’re waiting for it to heat up. If your system is more than 10 years old, it’s time to start looking and budgeting for a replacement.


Signs to look out for that can indicate something’s wrong include:

  • hot water that isn’t hot enough,
  • water that takes too long to heat up,
  • strange noises coming from your tank, or
  • discoloured water.

Before you buy a hot water heater system replacement, discuss your concerns with a qualified plumber. They can do an assessment and advise whether your unit merely needs maintenance or if you need to buy a new one entirely. They will also suggest which hot water system will be best for your household.

Disclaimer: Please note that all information provided on this page is general in nature. We strive to provide accurate and reliable information at the time of publishing. However, this should not be interpreted as advice as it’s general in nature. You should seek a professional opinion to ensure that the information is suited to your situation.

Author Bio:

This article is provided by Alan & the Bayside Plumbing team which has vast experience and expertise in the plumbing industry from his time working at Sydney Water. From a young age, Alan had a keen interest in the plumbing trade, and his passion for delivering a high standard plumbing service has not waned.