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How Long do Water Heaters Last – Truth Revealed!

There is nothing more refreshing than a warm shower, especially during the winters – this is why water heaters have been an essential appliance in almost every household.

However, similar to any other electrical appliance, they have a limited lifespan. If you want uninterrupted hot water for your showers, it would be nice to keep tabs on your water’s age – to know when to replace or repair your water heater.

Knowing the exact lifespan of a water heater can be challenging as it depends on several factors like age, usage and others.

But if you want to know the lifespan to keep the tabs on your water heater, then you will find the answer in this article.

Here, we shall explore the average lifespan of a water heaters (two types), what affects them, how to increase the lifespan and several other information.

water heater

How Long Does a Water Heater Last?

Generally, the average lifespan of water heaters is around 10 to 15 years. The time duration however may increase or decrease depending on several factors. In addition to that, the average life duration of water heaters also depends on the type you are using. Water heaters are available in two types – tank and tankless.

Lifespan of Tank Water Heaters –

On average, tank water heaters last 8-12 years. It can last up to 15 years if it is properly maintained. An anode rod is built into the tank to attract corrosive elements from water. This protects its interior lining.

The rod becomes useless after a long time of use with the tank water heater (about ten year). The rod is then destroyed by the corrosive particles that settle on the tank’s interior, including its bottom. The tank could then start leaking. This post will show you how to fix leaks.

Lifespan of Tankless Water Heaters –

Tankless water heaters are more durable than traditional tank heaters thanks to their advanced technology. They have a lifespan of approximately 20 years. Some heaters can last up to 30 years if they are properly maintained.

This heater heats water at the right time, so it is called “on-demand heater.” They don’t need to run constantly to heat water, which increases their life expectancy. Although tankless water heaters are susceptible to corrosion, this happens more slowly.

How to Determine the Age of Water Heaters?

Knowing the expected lifespan of each water heater type, you can now predict when you will need to replace it. But this is only possible if you know the age of your water heater. What happens if you purchase a house with a used water heater but don’t know its age.

How do you find out the age of your used water heater? You will need to look at the serial number of the water heater. This has two numbers: a letter and a sequence of numbers. The month and year of manufacture are typically represented by the letters and the first two numbers.

To represent December, the letters cannot go beyond ‘L’. If you find a water heater serial number A110297340, then the letter “A” represents January. The first month of the calendar year is 2011.

To find out if your water heater manufacturer follows this standard, contact them. They may be able to pinpoint the age of your heater if they don’t follow this convention.

Signs that Indicate Its Time to Replace the Water Heater

In addition to maintaining the water heater in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, you should also regularly inspect the hot water heater’s performance to ensure it is working at its best. Despite the fact that all appliances have a lifespan based on normal use, it is a good idea to start looking for a new water heater if you notice any signs of wear.

  • When you hear a rumbling or banging sound – Manufacturers often recommend that tank-style water heaters have to be flushed annually. This is a requirement to keep a warranty in place. However, very few people follow this suggestion. Calcium buildup from hardwater can collect in the tank’s bottom. When the water heater is in use, it can creak or bang due to sediment buildup.
  • Hot water has a strange smell – There could be something contaminating the hot water tank if there is a strange smell or taste. The problem could be caused by metal absorption in the water or bacteria growing inside the tank. If the problem persists, you may need to contact a plumber.
  • Tinted hot, either reddish or dirty yellow – It could be indicating rust formation. It is important to check if the discoloration occurs when cold water is flowing. If it does not, the corrosion problem is likely to be within the water heater and not in any rusting galvanized pipes.
  • Suddenly a drop in temperature – There is less hot water now than there was previously. The water tank can build up sediment over time, which can reduce the amount of water available. The tank should be drained and cleaned if the hot water runs out faster. If you wait too long to clean your tank, it may be time for a replacement.
  • Base could also be leaking – Check first to ensure that the leak is not coming from a fitting, or valve that needs to be replaced or tightened. To diagnose the problem and to perform any maintenance, call a professional. The tank may have cracked or corroded internal leaks if this is the case.
  • Water quality is affected by hard water – Hard water can cause damage to a water heater, and it can decrease its service life by as much as 2 years. The water heater might need to be replaced more frequently if you see white limescale build up on the plumbing surfaces.
  • Installed location can also impact heater’s lifespan – Water heaters present in crawl spaces, garages or any other location, where temperature tends to drop off significantly may have to work harder for heating the water. And because of this reason, they are prone to wear out quicker compared to heaters installed in houses with temperature control. If you have any of these elements in your setup, it is important to start looking for signs that indicate the heater’s end-of-life sooner than the manufacturer suggests.

How to Increase the Lifespan of a Water Heater?

It is possible to increase the lifespan of water heater if you follow certain tips and guidelines. We have mentioned below for your reference.

1. Scheduled Tune-Ups

Regular maintenance will help your water heater last longer and work more efficiently. Also, a trained technician will be able to detect warning signs that your heater is about to fail.

2. Water Treatment or Scale Inhibitor

Limescale deposits may cause damage to tankless and conventional water heaters, especially if you live in areas that have hard water like Brampton. These mineral deposits can make the hot water suddenly too hot. To protect your water heater or prolong its life expectancy, use a scale-inhibiting filter. You can also install water softeners or whole-home water filters.

3. Flushing

For removing sediment buildup, it is recommended to drain your water heater tank once every six to twelve months. This can be done at home, but if you aren’t sure what to do or if it is the first time to drain the tank in many years, it may be best to hire a professional.

4. Anode Replacement

Anode is a rod of metal inside the water heater. It attracts minerals and ions that could otherwise cause damage to the tank. The anode should be replaced if it becomes corroded after 2 to 3 years. To prolong the life of your tank, add a second rod to protect it.

Some Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I replace an old 15-year-old water heater?

If your water heater is between 6-12+ years of age and you experience hot water evaporation faster, it may be worth replacing. But heat loss and age are not the only factors that matter. A 15-year-old water heater could still work and not need to be replaced.

2. Do I need to replace my water heater before it breaks?

Your water heater may start to take a beating if you don’t replace the rod every few years. The tank could rust and cause a catastrophic failure that could flood your home. This can be avoided by having your water heater replaced before it fails.

3. What happens if the hot water heater stops working?

A failing hot water heater could cause your hot water to become cloudy or have a metallic taste. When contaminants and deposits are released from the water tank into the water supply, cloudy water can occur. These deposits often cause metallic taste or odor.

4. What do you do with an old water heater?

These are some ideas for what you can do with an old water heater. They are…
*Donate Your Water Heater
*Recycle your water heater
*Place your water heater in the garbage
*Bring your water heater to the Landfill.
*To haul your water heater away, hire a junk removal service.
*You can get rid of your water heater by scraping yourself.

5. Is an old hot water heater worth anything?

You could pay anywhere from $7 to $30* depending on the size and materials used to build your water heater. It all depends on whether you take the entire tank to the scrapyard or just the parts.

Final Words Before Wrapping Up

Having warm showers is one of the most comfortable things to kick start a day. And water heaters have made it easy for us to get warm water on time. However, being an electrical appliance, they are subjected to have a limited lifespan.

If you are wondering about the details of the water heater lifespan, then check out this article. We have mentioned all the necessary information related to it. As per our research, water heaters usually last for about 10 to 15 years. You can extend the lifespan if you maintain it properly.

Hoping that the information has helped you clarify the doubts you have. If you still have any doubts, we recommend writing to us in the comment section below. We shall reply at the earliest.

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