Are you eyeing your hot water heater with concern and worry? Are you asking yourself, just how long do these things last? Have you questioned whether or not a tankless water heater would be right for you? If you’ve been in your house longer than 10 years then you might be asking these questions, and some may be more timely than you might think.
There are signs to watch for to know the end is coming, and things you can do to help put off that end. But, a catastrophic failure, such as bursting, could lead to a whole list of other damage that will need to be replaced.
The typical lifespan of a standard water heater is 10-15 years. Water can be corrosive and the type of water your home has plays a role in the lifespan. Also, because water sits in the tank with minerals such as calcium and iron, sediment can build up and reduce the heating efficiency of the standard water heater.
What about a tankless water heater?
Because water and mineral deposits don’t sit in the tank of a tankless water heater, its lifespan can last up to 20 years.
There are other benefits of going tankless, chief among them is potential for energy cost savings. Because you heat the water on demand rather than trying to maintain hot water, you can save on energy costs. Although, a tankless water heater will cost more upfront with purchase price and installation costs.
A few cons of going tankless: They require regular flushing (a tank heater should also be regularly maintained though it’s more imperative for tankless), they may take longer to heat up, and may have difficulty supplying hot water to multiple places at once (eg: showering with the laundry running).
Things you can do to extend the life of your water heater:
A professional plumber can help you with these tasks, and give you an assessment of your water heater, but you can also do them yourself.
Flush the tank. Recommended every year.
Replace the anode rod. Recommended 3 - 5 years.
Here are a few tell tale signs your water heater may need replaced (or at the very least, serviced):
It’s getting noisy: If the sediment starts to get too thick it can cause rumbling or popping sounds. You may be able to have it flushed out but the damage may already be done.
Rust colored water: Obviously rusty water means you’ve got a rusty tank.
Low pressure: Hard water deposits can build up and block the flow of water.
Not enough hot water: If you are running out of hot water or notice a rise in your energy bills it may be a sign of declining water heater health.
Visible damage: If you can see cracks or rust on the outside of your heater just think how it may look inside.
It’s leaking: Pretty self-explanatory.
If you suspect you’re going to need a replacement soon then don’t wait until your water heater fails. It’s best to take your time and research rather than rushing to find something so you can have hot water again.
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