This water heater, too, shall pass!
There’s no such thing as “the only water heater you’ll ever need.” Any appliance that does as much work as a hot water heater—and the one in your house probably runs every day, four seasons a year—accumulates large amounts of wear and tear. Proper maintenance can lessen how fast a water heater runs down, but the day will come when an owner must make the decision to stop having it professionally repaired and instead have it professionally replaced.
If you’re asking the big question in the heading, we’d like to help. The best way to get our help is to call our plumbers for a consultation and inspection. Before you do that, we can provide you with some guidelines to help you think about whether you ought to replace that water heater.