How Long Does A Water Heater Last And Why?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on August 18th, 2022

A water heater’s lifespan is influenced by various factors, including routine maintenance, age, and frequency of use. Therefore, it is important to remember that improper maintenance might result in a water heater having a shorter service life.

Regular maintenance entails replacing or flushing out sediment that accumulates at the bottom of the tank with each heating cycle, as well as yearly or semi-annual inspections.

Smiling technician repairing an hot-water heater

What is the lifespan of a water heater?

Tank water heaters’ lifespan

It would be convenient to know when to change your water before it leaks and inconveniences you or, worse still, damages your house. A water heater typically lasts between 6 and 13 years.

The type of water flowing through your tank and whether you have followed the tank manufacturer’s recommended timetable for draining and cleaning the tank once a year can affect how long it lasts.

Tankless water heaters’ lifespan

Modern technology gives tankless water heaters a longer lifespan than tank water heaters. The typical lifespan of these heaters is 20 years. However, with appropriate care, some can survive up to 30 years.

The term “on-demand water heater” refers to the capacity of this type of heater to heat water as needed. They last longer than tank water heaters since they don’t have to operate continuously to keep the water warm. Tankless water heaters may eventually corrode, but it happens more slowly.

How long should a water heater last? Factors to consider

The lifespan of a water heater can be affected by several factors, both favorably and unfavorably.

  • Quality of water: The water heater’s lifespan will most certainly be reduced by around two years if it warms hard water more often. Minerals in hard water can cause limescale to form in your water heater, lowering its performance. Before the minerals get to items like your water heater, water softeners may remove them.
  • Maintenance practices: Your water heater can stop working after a few years if you neglect to perform repairs and maintenance regularly. Water heaters can even survive longer than anticipated when they are properly maintained. If you require plumbing services, you may contact us for water heater maintenance and repairs.
  • The water heater’s material: Superior materials like fiberglass, used to make water heaters have a longer lifespan than common ones like steel.
  • Source of power: Water heaters can be powered by either electricity or natural gas, depending on the manufacturer’s requirements. Gas-powered water heaters typically last 1-2 years less than electric water heaters.
  • Installation location: Your water heater must work harder to keep the water at the proper temperature if installed in a chilly crawl area. It will quickly wear out and eventually stop working. In houses with regulated temperatures, water heaters often last longer.

Signs of trouble

Take note of certain warning signs since the last thing you want is for your water heater to fail when you need it most. These include:

Rusty water – One of two things might happen within your water heater if you notice brownish or tinted water coming out from it: either that or the plumbing in your house may be rusty. Set up a consultation with one of our water heater maintenance specialists because it could be difficult to distinguish between the two.

Rumbling or gurgling – Your hot water heater accumulates sediment over time. The silt will harden and begin to move as it is heated repeatedly, producing rumbling or gurgling sounds. These unpleasant noises might cause overworked water heaters, leakage, internal damage, and other problems.

Cold water – If your heater is turned on but still experiencing cold water, it is necessary to call maintenance. Has it been corrected right now?

Moisture/water – If you see moisture or water near your hot water heater, you may have a leak or a crack. Depending on the break or leak, you might need to replace your water heater.

Age – When it comes to water heater warning signals, being older is always a factor. If yours is more than ten years old, you might want to think about buying a new one before the one you currently have begins to leak or develop other issues. Take a picture of the rating plate and email it to our water heater expert using the form at the bottom of this page to learn how old your water heater is.

Odd-smelling water – If the hot water has an odd taste or smell, something could be poisoning the water tank. It can be metal that the water has absorbed, or it might be germs accumulating inside the tank. It could be necessary to hire a plumber if cleaning the tank cannot resolve the issue.

Hard water affects water quality – Hard water can shorten the lifespan of a water heater by two or more years. The water heater may need to be replaced more often if you see white limescale accumulating on plumbing surfaces.

Tips for choosing a new water heater

Your water heater might last up to 20 years longer if you take good care of it. But there’s no assurance.

To assess your household’s demands, you must choose the right size water heater. For example, if your household consists of four people, you should consider how much hot water you will want for showers, dishwashing, laundry, and other duties.

100 gallons a day of water use for a household of four is not out of the ordinary. That does not imply that you require a 100-gallon water heater.

The first-hour rating you need for your new water heater must be determined. Determine how much hot water your water heater must produce in an hour during periods of high demand. Last but not least, confirm that your new water heater will fit. Measure your water heater before you buy since it can be taller or wider than your old one. Instead, you can choose a tankless water heater, which would require considerably less room.

Final thoughts

Modern homes are unable to function without hot water heaters. Similar to other essential parts like windows, power, and staircases, it’s important to check on them regularly to prevent potential issues. Time and money can be saved by being aware of the crucial warning signals that a hot water heater may require replacement soon and the factors to consider while doing so.

To reduce your heating bills, you should look for an energy-efficient water heater when buying a new one. You can save money by using water heaters with the Energy Star certification. They could be a little more expensive than the regular models, though. 


Editorial Staff

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