10 Things You Should Know About Your Water Heater

January 19, 2024

How well do you know your hot water heater? Read on for 10 things every homeowner should know about their water heater.


1. How Old is My Hot Water Tank?

Not sure how old your hot water tank is? Don’t worry, many people aren’t sure! The serial number contains the date of manufacture, and you can easily look up the age and warranty coverage for most water heaters online by entering your model and serial number on the website for your particular brand of water heater. This is important information because the age will tell you approximately how many more years you can expect to get out of your water heater before replacing it, as well as if it’s currently still covered under manufacturer warranty.


2. What Size is My Hot Water Tank?

The size of hot water tank you need depends on your household’s hot water demand. Generally speaking, the more people living in your home, the bigger sized tank you will need to keep up with all of the showers, laundry, and other hot water needs of everybody. But what if you don’t even know what size water heater you currently have? You should be able to find it easily by looking at your hot water tank. It will have a label with information like the model and serial number, as well as the size of the tank listed in gallons or litres.


3. Is My Hot Water Tank Natural Gas or Electric?

A lot of homeowners simply don’t think about their hot water tank until something is wrong with it, so many people aren’t aware of whether their water heater is electric or gas powered. If you’re not sure, take a look at the label on your water heater – it will not only have the model number on it, but also indicate whether it is natural gas or electric powered.


4. How Do I Find the Model & Serial Number?

There are often a ton of stickers on hot water tanks, so finding the label that indicates the model and serial number can take some searching (see photo). Look for the one that has “Serial No.” and “Model No.” followed by a number. The format and number of digits will differ depending on the manufacturer.

A hot water tank with the serial-number label circled.


5. What Brand is it?

Your water heater should say the brand name on it. Inspect your tank and look for anything that might be a brand name. The major water heater brands found in BC are as follows:

  • AO Smith®
  • Bosch
  • Bradford White®
  • Giant®
  • GE
  • John Wood®
  • Navien
  • NTI
  • Rheem®
  • Rinnai
  • Ruud 


6. Should I Turn Off My Water Heater When I Go Away on Vacation?

Yes, in general it is a good idea to turn off your hot water tank when you go away on vacation, as it can help avoid damage caused by hot water leaks – even a small pinhole leak on a hot water line, or a constant drip of hot water in a bathroom with a closed door, can cause mould damage in no time. As long as your home is going to remain properly heated, and you don’t have pipes that are at risk of freezing, you should turn off your water heater when you are away on holidays.


7. How Do I Turn off My Hot Water Tank?

How to Turn off Electric Hot Water Tanks

Step 1: Turn off the electricity for the hot water tank at the breaker panel.

A finger pointing at a hot water tank breaker.A finger flipping an electrical breaker switch.

Step 2: Locate the cold-water pipe going into your tank and turn off the shutoff.

A hand pointing to the label indicating a cold-water pipe on a hot water tank.

Most shutoffs only require a ¼ turn.


8. How Long Do Hot Water Tanks Last?

Most insurers recommend that tanks be replaced once they hit the 10-year mark. Depending on usage, the majority of today’s conventional hot water tanks tend to last between 8 and 12 years.


9. What is My Plan for When My Hot Water Tank Bites the Dust?

If your hot water tank is getting up there in age, it’s a good idea to have a plan to replace it. Having a plan means that you have not only budgeted funds for when the time comes, but that you can get a qualified, reputable company to install a new water heater before yours breaks down completely, and you are left without hot water, forcing you to go with whatever contractor you can find last minute.


10. Is There Any Maintenance I Need to Do to My Hot Water Tank?

If you have a traditional hot water tank, there really isn’t much maintenance other than keeping the area around the tank clean and free of dust bunnies. Dust and especially dryer lint can create havoc for any appliances that require combustion air.

Need your water tank repaired or replaced? Our team at John Sadler Plumbing & Heating is ready to help!



Contact us now to get a quote

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John Sadler Plumbing & Heating

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  • North Delta

  • Cloverdale

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