Alternative Title: Having Problems with Your Water Heater? How Long Does a Water Heater Last? Here’s What You Need to Know About Replacement.
With winters just here, it is time to avoid a surprising and unpleasant dose of cold water by knowing the condition and age of your heater so that you know when it is time for a replacement. Timely replacement of a water heater also comes with other benefits like continuous access to hot showers and lower energy bills.
- 1 Life of a water heater
- 2 Types of water heaters
- 3 How do you know the heater must be replaced? How Long Does a Water Heater Last?
- 4 Why tanks stop working
- 5 Finding the right replacement – Our advice
- 6 Cost of replacing a water heater
Life of a water heater
Typically, water heaters are designed to last anywhere from ten to fifteen years more or less. However, the actual life of the heater really depends on a number of factors. For instance, if you know how you can flush a water heater and keep it maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendation, then you can extend its life. Note that eventually, the tank will fail.
While you may be tempted to buy a low-cost model, note that such a model will only come with a 5 to 6-year warranty. For this reason, it is better to pay more upfront and get a model which a warranty of up to 10 to 12 years. High-cost water heaters often come with heavier-duty anode rods that are essential for keeping the internal components of the tank in good shape.
Types of water heaters
Of course, the life of a water heater also depends on the type. For instance, water heaters that come with a fiberglass tank can last for a substantially long time. In fact, some of the high-end fiberglass tank water heaters might come with a lifetime warranty on the tank! Let’s look at the life of other kinds:
1. Gas water heaters
Compared to electric water heaters, gas heaters are known to be more environmental-friendly and economical. However, they also have more components that can fail or wear out. Thus, they can last anywhere from 6 to 10 years, depending on your use and maintenance.
2. Electric water heaters
Typically, electric heaters last up to two years longer than gas models, particularly since they have fewer components inside.
3. Tankless water heater
Tankless water heaters, alternatively called on-demand heaters, last for up to twenty years, and sometimes even longer. Since these appliances don’t work continuously to maintain a steady stream of hot water, they last longer than the tank-style heaters. With time, however, tankless water heaters undergo corrosion and must be replaced.
How do you know the heater must be replaced? How Long Does a Water Heater Last?
Like with all appliances, there are two options when there’s a problem; you either replace the unit or you get it repaired. Before you decide to replace the heater with a new unit, make sure you troubleshoot it.
1. When to repair the heater
In general, if your tank is less than ten years old and isn’t leaking from the tank, then it is best to get it repaired. If the only problem you have with your heater is that it isn’t generating a sufficient amount of hot water, then you don’t need to replace the unit. You can solve this problem by replacing the thermostat or other malfunctioning components. You must also know that replacing all the components of a heater is cheaper than purchasing a new unit. However, if your water heater is over ten years old, then replacing the components is fruitless.
2. When to replace the heater
As mentioned earlier, ideally, you should replace your heater when it is over ten years old. Not sure of how old the heater is? It’s simple; the serial number can tell you the age of the unit. Don’t worry if you are unable to find the documents of your unit, just have a look at the serial number. You will notice that there’s a letter that is followed by numbers mentioned on the upper part of the water heater. The number will help to determine the heater’s date of manufacture.
The letter indicates the month of manufacture and the next two numbers are the year in which it was made. So, the letter A is for January, B for February, and so on. Therefore, if a serial number starts with C12, then it means it was manufactured in March 2012. Looking at the year of manufacture, you can determine if a replacement is due or not.
Why tanks stop working
Water tanks generally fail for two primary reasons:
In such cases, the psi of the water present in the tank exceeds the specifications. The excess pressure at the inlet and excessive heating both lead to overpressurization. To avoid overheating, it is best to keep the temperature of the hot water less than 140 Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, for excess pressure, you can insert an adjustable valve and decrease the flow at the inlet.
2. Buildup of sediment
Tanks commonly fail because of the buildup of sediment in the water tank. Contaminants and chemicals present in the water cause rust and corrosion within the tank. Eventually, this leads to leakage. Even if the leak is minor, the pressure inside the tank forces the water through the crack which ultimately increases the amount of leakage.
Finding the right replacement – Our advice
The right unit depends on your water consumption and the temperature of where you live. However, there are some factors to take care of. You must ensure that the model comes with a high-quality anode rod. These rods attract contaminants from the water which helps to delay corrosion.
Of course, with time, the anode rod will be covered with contaminants which means you will have to replace it eventually, but anode rods are inexpensive, so there’s nothing to worry about.
Cost of replacing a water heater
The cost of installing an electric heater and a gas heater varies a bit. However, the main thing is the cost of the heater itself, which is more for electric heaters. As for the cost of labor, it is fairly standard and depends on the contractor and area, but if you want the heater replaced urgently, then you might have to pay more.
Generally, most homeowners pay roughly $740 $1400 for getting a new water heater. On average, you can expect to spend roughly $1000 to replace a water heater.