Hot water heater help

My hot water heater is 13 years old. I have noticed that it takes awhile to get hot water flowing in some of the bathrooms. I know they are usually rated to last 10 years, my question is should I change it now and what hot water heaters are the best out there. My current one holds 65 gallons. It is a one family colonial with 3 baths. We are 4 people in the house. Thanks for any info
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On 11/28/2004 9:50 AM US(ET), Rennyboy took fingers to keys, and typed the following:

When hot water sits in a pipe, it begins to lose heat. The longer it sits, the more heat loss, and the further the faucet is from the water heater, the longer it takes to replace the cool water in the pipes. If there is another faucet on the same pipe between your sink and the water heater, and that hot faucet is used before yours, then you will only have cool water between your faucet and the other faucet. I have the same situation in my house. In the morning, after the hot water had been sitting in the pipes all night, I use a sink that is on the opposite side of the house from the water heater. I will get cold water for a long while before the water starts to get hot. However, if someone uses the hot water in the next bathroom just before I use the sink, I will get hot water much sooner because the hot water has already traveled to that bathroom and it only has to make the short distance from that bathroom to mine.
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That is not usually the result of the water heater.
Is it a recent thing? For most readers, the weather is getting colder and often than means the pipes are colder and it may take longer to get hot water as a result. It could be many things, but I doubt if it is the water heater.
Leaks are the usual issue when a water heater dies. It may also start making noises or it may start running out of hot water sooner. Those are things generally related to the heater. Many things related to the heater can mean it just needs a inexpensive repair. If you find you need an expensive repair, then it may be a good time to replace it.
Is it an electric water heater? If so ..... Upper element??
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Joseph E. Meehan

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If your problem is like willshak describes, and not just that the heater isn't producing enough hot water, you can have a plumber install a loop in the hot water line, which circulates the cool standing water in the pipes back to the heater, maintaining continuous hot water in the lines

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