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How Long Do Water Heaters Last? Factors That Determine the Life

Every water heater has a life expectancy, but it’s the quality of the unit and how often it received maintenance that will truly determine how long it will last. However, in most cases, the average life expectancy of a water heater is around 8 to 12 years. Listed below are some of the causative factors that will determine how long your unit will last.

Quality of the Unit

How the water heater was built and the quality of the parts used in the unit will play a large factor in the life expectancy. Just as with any product on the market, there are different levels of quality available. With water heaters, higher-end models tent to have larger anode rods. Generally, these rods last longer.

Location of the Unit

If your water heater is positioned in an area of your home where temperatures tend to fluctuate from cold to warm on a regular basis, this can cause damage to your unit as well. It’s best to keep your water heater in an area of your home where the temperature is constant and not severely hot or cold.

High Water Pressure

In the same way that high blood pressure can hurt or kill a human being, high water pressure can decrease your water heater’s life expectancy and cause internal damage to your unit. Unless you have installed a PRV-pressure reducing valve, 80 psi is the maximum allowed according to the official safety code.

Regular Maintenance

To keep your system up and running for years to come, it’s essential that you provide maintenance to it on a regular basis. The maintenance that should bee completed first includes an annual flushing your tank very year. By doing this, you’ll remove the sediment from the bottom and keep it clean. In addition to this, you should also perform an annual inspection from time to time. When you do your inspection, look for rust stains, corrosion and water lying around the base or underneath the unit.

5 Signs Your Water Heater Needs to Be Replaced or Repaired

Generally, when your water heat needs to be repaired or replaced, it’s pretty clear. The three most common things a water heater will do include losing its ability to produce hot water, dripping profusely and creating large puddles. The problem is, it’d be nice to know before these things happen that the water heater is going bad. Who wants to choose between taking a cold shower and not taking one at all?

Listed below are 5 signs that your water heater should be replaced. By catching these signs, you can have your unit repaired or replaced before you find yourself in a bind. These signs include:

The Age of the Unit

Like mentioned before, the average life expectancy of a water heater is anywhere from 8 to 10 years. How long does a gas water heater last? Gas heaters tend to have a life expectancy of about 6 to 8 years. Tankless heaters have a much longer life span that both the water heater and the gas heater.

Although taking great care of your water heater can increase the life expectancy by quite a few years, once your unit becomes more than 10 years old, it’s best to keep a close eye on it. When it is time to invest in another model, look for a company that offers a strong warranty.

The Accumulation of Rust and Corrosion

Because most water heaters are made out of metal, corrosion and rust are two things you want to look for.  The 4 areas you really want to look for rust and corrosion at are by the:

  • Temperature relief valve
  • Pressure relief valve
  • Water inlet
  • Outlet connections

If you find rust and corrosion near these areas, then it’s probably in your best interest to replace your water heater. Trying to repair the rust and corrosion on your tank is pretty much pointless and a waste of time.

Faulty Drain Valve

When your hot water heater gets to the point where it won’t drain through the drain valve, then it’s a pretty good indication that it’s time to replace your hot water tank. This is caused when thee sediment from the water settles on the bottom of the tank and cause issues like breaking down the inside of the tank and resulting in a clogged drain valve. However, by flushing your tank annually, you can help extend thee life of your unit which will save you money in the long run. (Replace Your Hot Water Heater Drain Valve with These Easy Steps)

A Leaky Tank

When your tank begins leaking, then you know it’s time to replace it. Most leaks are caused by problems on the inside and are generally unable to be repaired. However, if you do decide to try and fix the leak yourself, you’ll need to pinpoint it and then make all the necessary repairs. Many homeowners are investing in tankless water heaters for this specific reason.

Luke Warm or Cold Water

It’s a pretty good indication you need to replace your water heater if all you’re getting is mildly warm water or no warm water at all. Most likely, if your tank is not delivering hot water, a failure with the heating element or the electric thermostat is more than likely causing the problem. The problem could also bee attributed to the fragmented dip tube positioned within the tank.

Water Heater Replacement and Repair

Once you decide that it’s time to replace or repair your water heater, you can either repair it yourself or hire a company to do it for you. However, if you do hire a company, make sure you inquire as to what the price is going to be to fix it, will the repair extend the life of the water heater by more than just a couple years and what the cost would be to replace your faulty water heater.

On the other hand, if you decide to have your water heater replaced, it’s essential that you invest in a water heater that best serves your needs, has a strong warranty and is made with quality parts. If you have questions, most stores that sell electric, gas and tankless water heaters will be able to provide you with the right assistance.

Kevin L. Sharp


Friday 17th of November 2017

Wow! How did I get so lucky? My hot water heater is 20 years old and still producing clear, odor free very hot water. I’ve had it flushed several times over the years, but not every year, and I had the anode rod replaced a couple of years ago. Should I buy a new heater, or wait for signs of a breakdown? Go Redbirds!!! (Class of 1978)