The Life Expectancy of a Water Heater (And the Things That Can Shorten It)

You turn on the shower to get ready for work or flip on the faucet to wash some dishes, and it hits you: You don’t have any hot water. Most homeowners find out that they need a new hot water heater once it breaks down completely, usually at the most inopportune time. Knowing how long your water heater should last—and the things that you may be doing to shorten its lifespan—can help you get the most out of your current unit and get ready for a replacement before you’re caught unawares. Here is what you need to know.

The type of water heater you have makes a difference.

Traditional and tankless water heaters have different life expectancies. A traditional water heater with a tank can usually last between eight and 12 years. A tankless water heater can last for much longer. Most tankless water heaters last for about 20 years, and some can last longer than that. However, that doesn’t mean that a tankless water heater is the right choice for every home. Instead, let your plumber help you choose the model that best meets your needs.

Several factors can impact how long your water heater lasts.

You can’t control all of the factors that can shorten the life of your water heater. For example, if you live in a place with hard water, sediment will build up faster in your hot water heater, which can make it wear out faster than expected. You can control other factors. Avoid installing a hot water heater in a space where temperature fluctuations are common, like a basement, as your unit will need to work harder than if it is in a place with a controlled temperature. Failing to have regular maintenance performed by your plumber can also reduce the lifespan.

You should start preparing for replacement before you need it.

Try to plan for replacing your water heater about two years before you expect it to wear out. As it nears the end of its life, pay close attention to signs of failure, such as banging sounds, pooled water on the floor, and inconsistent water heating.

Ace Plumbing provides hot water heater repairs when needed, and when the time comes, new water heater installation. Talk to a plumber in Sacramento about your hot water heater by calling (916) 455-4548.

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