While technically you can live without hot water, nobody wants to take cold showers every day. Hot water straight from your tap is a necessity none of us want to live without, especially in the winter.

Your water heater has a life expectancy of somewhere between 8 and 12 years. It depends on use, maintenance and the number of people who use the hot water regularly. Most property owner directly reaps the benefits of a working water heater and taking it for granted.

There are some signs to watch out for that it is time to replace the water heater.

Every time you turn on the water heater it makes an annoying noise that doesn’t seem to stop. If you hear crackling, banging, pops or whining noises whenever it comes on, it can drive you nuts especially when the sound never goes away. Hearing these noises all the time usually, indicates that your water heater is about to die. Constantly having noise from the water heater all the time can indicate a buildup of minerals or that the heating element is ready to fail. Whatever the cause of the noises, it inevitably means it’s time to get a plumber to have it fixed or replaced.

The shower is always cold, or you only have hot water for a couple of minutes, the luxury of a long hot shower is gone. Cold water in the shower indicates that the water heater isn’t working properly. You usually have fair warning when the water in the shower isn’t as hot as it should be or doesn’t last longer than a few minutes. If you have consistent drops in temperature, it’s a pretty good sign that the water heater or the element within needs to be replaced.

You have dirty water come from the hot water tap. Brown or off coloured water coming from your hot water taps, it may also give off a strange metallic taste is another indication that the water heater is failing. If you check the tank and have dirty water there as well, you probably have built up. Increased sludge or sediment in the tubes, tank or hose can stop your water heater from working properly. It may not need to be replaced completely, but a plumber should look at it and clean it out.

If you have leaked water on the floor around the tank, that’s a problem. You should never have water around the heating element; puddles can be indicative of corrosion or a leak. This needs to be looked at right away before you end up with a flood.

Replacing your water heater can be pricey, but a plumbing contractor can have it done in less than a day. Watch the video below to see how easily it is done.