A water heater is a home plumbing essential but like all appliances, it does have a limited service life. And when your water heater is about to fail, you had better be ready!
Otherwise, you will be facing cold water just when you’re craving a hot shower and – even worse – dealing with possible water damage to your home.
So be prepared. Learn how long a water heater typically lasts and what you can do to help it last longer.
How Long Does A Tank Water Heater Last?
A conventional electric or gas water heater maintains heated water in an insulated storage tank. The average tank lasts 10 – 15 years. If you’re not sure how old your unit is, check the serial number.
How Long Does A Tankless Water Heater Last?
Tankless (“on demand”) water heaters are energy savers. They do not have a storage tank, but instead heat water as needed. Because there’s less wear and tear, tankless models last at least 20 years, and longer with good maintenance.
How Do You Know When A Water Heater Needs To Be Replaced?
Look for these warning signs:
- Age. An ageing tank water heater (over 9 – 12 years) is often an accident waiting to happen, especially when it’s installed in an area of your home that is vulnerable to water damage. Look into a replacement.
- Strange noises. Sounds of banging or cracking are often caused by sediment deposits in the tank. Excess sediment buildup might signal the need for a new water heater.
- Lukewarm or cold water. A hot water heater’s job is simple: heating water. When a heater just doesn’t perform as well as it used to, it may be due for replacement.
- Rust. Rust on your appliance’s exterior tends to be obvious. Discoloured or metallic-tasting water can be a good clue that the tank is corroding on the inside. A rusted hot water tank is too far gone to repair.
- Leakage. Leaking from your hot water tank almost always signals that you need a replacement … now!
How To Make Water Heaters Last Longer
Try one or more of the following methods. You’ll help your water heater last longer.
- Scheduled Tune Ups
Regular tune ups help your water heater work more efficiently and last longer. A trained technician is also more likely to spot warning signs that your water heater might be about to fail.
- Scale Inhibitor or Water Softener
If you live in an area with hard water, like Brampton, limescale mineral deposits can harm both conventional and tankless water heaters. Use a scale-inhibiting filter to protect your water heater and help it last longer. Alternatively, install a whole-house water softener.
Drain (“flush”) your hot water heater tank every 6 – 12 months to clear out sediment buildup. While this can be a DIY home maintenance task, if you are unsure of what you’re doing or the tank is being drained for the first time in years, you may want to call a professional.
- Anode Replacement
The anode, a metal rod inside your water heater, attracts ions and minerals which would otherwise corrode the tank. After 2 – 3 years, have the anode checked annually and replaced when it deteriorates. Help your tank last longer; for additional protection, install a second anode rod.
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