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How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

Dec 20, 2023
How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

Water heaters are an essential appliance in any home, providing the hot water we need for showers, baths, and other daily tasks. But just how long do these workhorses last? As your trusted plumbing service, we're here to provide insights into the life expectancy of water heaters and offer valuable tips on extending their longevity.

On average, a tank-style water heater should last between 8 and 12 years. On the other hand, a tankless water heater should last between 15 and 20 years with proper maintenance and operation. However, a hot water heater’s lifespan depends on many factors.

Factors That Determine the Life Expectancy of a Water Heater

  • Type Of Water Heater

The type of water heater you have can significantly impact its lifespan. Tankless water heaters typically last longer than traditional tank-style water heaters, with some models lasting up to 20 years.

  • The Type of Water You Have

Water with a high mineral content or acidity can shorten the lifespan of a water heater. To extend its life, consider installing a water softener or anode rod.

  • Household Size

The demand on your water heater increases with household size. Larger families may find that their water heaters wear out faster due to more frequent use.

  • Maintenance

Regular maintenance can greatly extend the lifespan of your water heater. Flushing the tank and draining sediment buildup can help prevent corrosion and extend its overall efficiency.

What Causes Water Heaters to Fail?

  • Sediment Buildup: Sediment, minerals, and rust can accumulate inside the water heater tank over time, reducing its efficiency and leading to premature failure.
  • Corrosion: Hard water can cause corrosion of the tank and its components, leading to leaks and other problems.
  • Heating Element Failure: The heating element is responsible for heating the water, and its failure can result in a lack of hot water or inefficient operation.
  • Thermostat Issues: The thermostat regulates the water temperature, and its malfunction can lead to erratic temperature fluctuations or overheating.

How Do I Know It’s Time to Replace My Water Heater?

There are several signs that your water heater is nearing the end of its lifespan:

  • Noticeably Decreased Hot Water Supply

If you find yourself running out of hot water quickly, even for basic tasks, it could be a sign that your water heater is losing its capacity.

  • Reduced Efficiency

If your water heater is taking longer to heat water or isn't reaching the desired temperature, it may signal a problem with the heating element or thermostat.

  • Leaks

Leaking water from the water heater tank is a serious issue that demands quick attention to prevent further damage and potential safety hazards.

  • Rusty or Discolored Water

Rust or discoloration in the water can be caused by sediment buildup or corrosion, indicating a need for maintenance or water heater replacement.

  • Metallic Smell or Taste

A metallic odor or taste in the water may indicate corrosion or other problems with the water heater.

How Can I Make My Water Heater Last Longer?

  • Schedule regular maintenance checks and cleaning to remove sediment buildup and prevent corrosion.
  • Install a water softener to reduce the mineral content of your water, which can extend the life of your water heater.
  • Replace the anode rod periodically to protect the tank from corrosion.
  • Ensure your water heater is properly installed and sized for your household needs. Water heater installation should be left to a reputable and experienced plumbing service.

What To Do If Your Water Heater Fails

If your water heater fails, contact our team of experienced plumbers at Neighborhood Plumbing for professional water heater replacement services. We offer a wide range of water heater options to suit your needs and budget, and our expert plumbers will ensure a smooth water heater installation and provide you with the guidance you need to make an informed decision.

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