How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

When you own a house, maintenance is required. It’s one of those simple facts of life.

Over the years, appliances and systems need to be replaced, and water heaters are no exception. Water heaters are one of the most used appliances in the home, yet very few give this system much thought — that is until no hot water comes out.

No one wants to go turn on their shower after a hard day’s work, only to find out that there’s only cold water. That is why you’ll want to replace your water heater before it completely stops working. Understanding the life-cycle of your water heater is the first step.

Here’s what you need to know to ensure you always have hot water.

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The Lifetime of a Water Heater

The longevity of your water heater will depend on a number of variables. One of the most significant factors is whether or not your water heater is tankless or not.

On average, water heaters last around 8-10 years. This is because the most popular and common water heating systems are conventional water heaters. These are your standard tank water heaters that tend to hold anywhere from 40 to 120 gallons.

In comparison, tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand systems, have a much longer lifespan. Although you can expect to pay more upfront, a tankless water heater will typically last anywhere between 20 and 25 years. Since you will save a lot of energy using this type of unit, it will cost you less to operate. When you extrapolate those savings over 20+ years, the initial cost is often worth it.

If you’d like to better understand the differences between tankless and tank water heaters, be sure to check out this comprehensive guide.

It is important to note that power vents will need to be changed every 8-10 years; where boiler and radiant heat is reliable for around 25-30 years.

Knowing what type of system you have can help you better prepare for a replacement.

When to Replace a Water Heater

If you’re wondering when it’s time to repair or replace a hot water heater, it’s important to remain mindful of any warning signs, including:

  • Rusting — If your water is brown or rusty looking, this is because there’s likely an accumulation of sediment inside of the tank. This is why it’s recommended
  • Leaking and/or pools of water — If you’ve noticed that water has begun leaking and is now collecting around the base of your heater, this is a tell-tale sign that your unit is failing. In some cases, the valve may be damaged and will need to be repaired. However, the most common cause of leaks is from within the tank itself.
  • Clanging of pipes — Noise in the wall after a shower or bath (this can also occur after your run hot water for dishes or for laundry. Basically, if you run hot water in any form, whether it’s in your shower or dishwasher, and you hear pipes “clanking” in the walls, it’s because your water heater is reaching the end of its life cycle — or it requires maintenance. Either way, it will require your attention. A rumbling noise may also mean that sediment has built up inside.

Some signs that you may need to repair instead of replacing is if the water is not heating, or if gas goes out but doesn’t light. This would likely indicate a broken gas valve. From heating elements to igniters, thermostats to valves, it is possible to repair your water heater if certain key parts are to blame for poor performance.

In some cases, it’s actually cheaper to replace an older hot water heater than pay for repeat repair services. This can also help you save money on your monthly energy bill by improving efficiency.

Please note: Proper, regular maintenance is critical when aiming to preserve and extend the life of any water heater. To maintain efficiency, your tank should be drained and cleaned once a year. If you live in an area with hard water, this may need to be done every six months. If you have a tankless water heater, they do require less maintenance, especially in the first four to five years.

How to Repair or Replace Your Hot Water Heater

A lot of people will try to take on this task themselves, even if they have little to no previous experience. Unfortunately, when you try to install a new water heater without adequate knowledge, you can end up damaging the entire system.

When it comes to repairing or replacing your hot water heater, it’s important to call in a licensed professional, especially if you need to make adjustments to your current system. Water heaters can be powered by many fuel types, including electricity, natural gas, or propane. If you’re not familiar with your water heater and/or fuel type, please do not risk an injury.

A great example is when you’re going from a tank to a tankless gas water heater. In this case, you may need an upgrade in gas sizing to accommodate the upgrade. This will be required to bring your hot water system up to code. When dealing with gas, this can be a dangerous process if you do not know what you’re doing.

If you’re in need of professional assistance, Black Diamond Experts offers plumbingheating, and air services throughout Salt Lake, Weber, Davis, Tooele, and Summit Counties. Known for our excellent customer service, we’re proud to support our local community. We also understand how frustrating it is when a critical part of your home starts work and it’s after hours, which is why we’re available 24/7.

If you need a new water heater or your water heater needs to be repaired, we’re here to help. We service all water heater brands, offering installation, and flush services. Be sure to check out our latest coupons and take advantage of our price match guarantee!

Ready to get started? Schedule an appointment today!

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