September 4, 2021

How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

rheem-hot-water-heater

How long do water heaters last?  Typically, water heaters are known to last for 8 to 20 years depending on the model type, level of efficiency, water quality, and the level of maintenance it receives from its owner. When your water heater approaches a decade lifespan, it might start showing some signs that will be a wake-up call for repair or replacement.

It might start functioning intermittently or begin having water leakages around its base. As a result, we suggest upgrading to an Energy Star certified water heater that can last longer and serve you for the desired period. When you notice malfunction signs, we recommend that you troubleshoot your water heater.

Your water heater can reach its maximum lifespan potential if taken care of well, thus serving you for around 15 to 20 years. Therefore, a well-maintained water heater can remain functional and efficient for up to two decades. Before calling a plumber, make sure you troubleshoot it. Maybe you can save it!

Troubleshooting Your Water Heater

You might realize that your water heater has a problem when it’s not heating the water properly. In such cases, it may be because of a broken thermostat. Other complexities you should check for are if the ignitor is on, whether the pipes are correctly insulated, or the sediment tanks for sediment accumulation.

Reasons for Heaters’ Breakdown

  • Sediment accumulation at the base of your tank leads to corrosion and rust over time, which could result in leakages.
  • Over-pressurization in the heaters due to overheating or excess water pressure at the inlet might cause your heater to break down real quick. We recommend that you regulate the water supply pressure and make sure the heating temperature stays constant around 48-60˚C
  • Broken or leaking pressure-relief valve.
  • The water supply pipes may be leaking. Ensure that they are tightly fitted. If fastening the lines fails to solve the leaking problem, you’ll have to cut the water supply and attach new fittings to the tank.

How Long Do Water Heaters Last – Factors Affecting Your Heater’s Lifespan

Type or make of your water heater

Most homeowners prefer having a natural gas water heater since it’s usually cost-effective and more environmentally friendly than electric heaters when heating water at home. Moreover, electric heaters have a costly operation cost, and they have a shorter lifespan than gas heaters.

On the other hand, you could have a tankless or traditional water heater. Hybrid and conventional storage heaters start depicting aging signs after operating for a decade or more. Tankless heaters tend to keep on for up to two decades or more because they’re not responsible for constant water storage compared to traditional ones.

Suppose your hybrid water heater breaks down at the age of 10 years. In that case, we recommend that you replace it since it will probably be more economical.

Quality of water

The lifespan of your water heater might depend on the water quality it’s exposed to during operation. As we all know, hard water contains a concentration of dissolved minerals that can introduce scale into your water heater during the heating process. We recommend you purchase a water softener in such cases to lengthen the durability of your water heater.

Installation spot or location

A heater installed in an unfinished space such as the basement, crawlspace, garage will have a shorter lifespan compared to one positioned in a temperature-controlled room in your house.

Maintenance levels

When wondering ‘how long water heaters last?’ you should also ask yourself how often to run maintenance on your water heater. To increase your water heater’s durability, you’ll have to keep an eye on the ‘annual technical maintenance’ schedule. We’ll look into that later in this text.

Signs for Water Heater Replacement

Upon noticing these signs from a water heater, homeowners begin to question themselves, ‘how long do water heaters last?’ They act as red flags to notify you that something is wrong with your heater, and it’s about time you purchase a new appliance. Let’s check them out:

  • The heater starts making unusual and strange sounds such as rumbling, gurgling and banging.
  • Heated water coming from the tap is red or brown in color.
  • Your heater might not be heating the water even or adequately producing inadequate hot water even upon heating.
  • Water leakage from the base of the heater’s tank to the floor.

Maintaining Your Water Heater

As we’ve seen before, keeping a regular maintenance schedule for your heating appliance might lengthen its lifespan. However, manufacturers design modern heaters for minimal maintenance. Suppose you have a hybrid or traditional water heater. In that case, the maintenance tips below might be helpful to you since they’ll probably increase your heater’s endurance.

  1. Remember to drain your heater at least twice annually to remove any accumulated sentiment which might hinder its overall efficiency.
  2. Test your tank’s pressure-relief valve to make sure it’s working correctly. You can do this by lifting its handle then leaving it to snap back. If it bursts some water into the heater’s overflow pipe, the valve is okay and vice versa.
  3. Maintain the thermostat temperature at 120˚F to prevent overheating

Suppose your water heater has been misbehaving lately. In that case, I understand why you’ve been asking your friends and searching ‘how long do water heaters last?’ The breakdown might be due to a simple technical issue that can easily handle. However, it could also be a bigger problem that might require heater replacement.

When replacing your water heater, make sure you’re aware of your current heater’s features and the issue you’re looking forward to solving. Suppose you’re replacing the whole heating unit. In that case, we recommend you upgrade and go for a tankless model which will serve you for a more extended period.

Remember to troubleshoot and maintain your heater regularly to make sure it doesn’t become prone to breakdowns.