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Your water heater is one of the most important features of your home. It’s what provides every water fixture in your home with hot water. Without it, you would be left taking cold showers every morning and having no hot water to wash your dishes or clothes. Like everything else in your home, a water heater isn’t designed to last forever. So, just how long should you expect it to last?

The Type of Water Heater You Have Plays a Huge Role

Different types of water heaters have different expected lifespans. Traditional tank-style water heaters are generally expected to last around ten years. Tank water heaters are available as gas or electric. Gas water heaters are seen as more environmentally-friendly, but they have more components that can wear out or break. Electric water heaters can typically last about a year or two longer than gas ones.

There are also what are known as tankless water heaters. These are water heaters that provide you with hot water on demand, rather than keeping a tank filled with hot water ready to go. These types of water heaters have an expected lifespan of about 20 years. They generally last longer because they are not running 24/7 to keep a tank of water hot.

What Affects the Lifespan of Your Water Heater?

While different types of water heaters have various life expectancies, several different factors can cause your water heater to wear out faster or fail. One factor is sediment buildup. This is an issue that affects tank-style water heaters. Over time, sediment can build up at the bottom of the tank and harden. When this happens, the water heater has to work harder to warm the water. As a result, components can begin to wear out more quickly. Periodically cleaning the tank can help to eliminate buildup and preserve the life of your water heater.

Too much water pressure can destroy your water heater. This issue happens when the water’s psi is higher than the specifications on the water heater. This can happen because the water is too hot or because there is too much pressure in the inlet. If extra pressure is not fixed or relieved, it can cause the tank to burst.

Your water heater might not last as long as expected due to its size. The size of the water heater you need depends upon several factors, including how many people you have in your home and how many water fixtures you have. If your water heater is too small to meet the needs of your family, it has to work continuously to provide your home with all of its hot water needs. When it works all of the time, there’s a much higher chance that it will wear out faster.

Signs You Should Replace Your Water Heater

So, how do you know that it’s time to replace your water heater? Its age is one good indication. If you have a tank style water heater that’s approaching ten years old or is over ten years old, it’s a good time to start looking into a new one. Age isn’t the only indication, though. You might need to consider replacing your water heater if you notice strange noises coming from the unit, your water is tinted or rusty, or you find water pooling around your water heater. You may also want to start considering a new water heater if your current one isn’t giving you the hot water you need anymore.

Final Thoughts

If your water heater is at the end of its life, it’s an excellent time to consider getting a replacement. With so many options, though, it can be hard to choose what’s best for your home. Contact your plumbing expert to discuss your options so that you can find a new water heater that suits the needs of our family.

Billy Henley
Billy Henley is the Vice President of Operations for BHI Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. Before becoming vice president, he worked six years in the field as a service technician and has over ten years of experience working in the industry. Billy often shares his knowledge about plumbing and HVAC issues on industry publications.

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