You will want to try to recognize the signs that it is time for a brand-new water heater to be installed well before you and your family are completely without any hot water in the house. The sooner you are able to spot the signs that it's time for an upgrade, the better. To better the odds of you being able to get the water heater installation done in a timely manner, you will want to check out the following:
The Water Isn't Clear Anymore
You might start to find that the water coming out of the water heater is no longer nice and clear. It might start to have a brownish tint to it and that can be the result of pieces of rust breaking off of the side of the unit and mixing in with the water. You do not want to drink that water, as it could be harmful to your health. Instead, you will need to have the water heater replaced, as the rust is not an issue that can be repaired.
The Water Doesn't Stay Hot Long
You should consider calling to have a brand new water heater installed if your current one does not keep the water as hot for as long as it used to. This can be troubling to those who want to take hot showers and who use hot water for washing dishes and clothes. You can always double-check the temperature gauge on the outside of the water heater just to make sure that it did not get accidentally turned down. If that is not the problem, you will want to have a plumber or contractor come take a look at it. If it's not an easy fix, it might be best to get a replacement installed.
Never try to handle the water heater installation on your own unless this is something that you have had a lot of experience with. Whether the water heater is electric or natural gas, there are some dangers that you would need to be on the lookout for. Without the proper experience, you could land yourself in a lot of hot water, literally, and you potentially cause damage to the new heater. Simply call to arrange for the installation to be completed by a professional heating repair contractor. You can always call around to see who has the soonest available opening on their schedule and that charges a price you can fit into your budget.