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How Long Can I Expect My Hot Water Heater to Last?

Just like other appliances in your home, your hot water heater will eventually wear out and need to be replaced with a new water heater. In general, water heaters will typically last around ten years to fifteen years.

Factors That Affect How Long Hot Water Heaters Last

Not all water heater models will last this long. “How long do hot water heaters last” is a question affected by several different factors, including:

Where is the water heater located?

Water heaters that are in the garage or crawl space will work harder to produce hot water. Since they have to work harder, it can shorten the lifespan of the water heater. Ideally, you want the water heater installed in a controlled environment.

What is the quality of your water?

If you have hard water, this will definitely shorten the lifespan of your water heater. Hard water will leave calcium and mineral deposits on the heating elements inside the water heater. Eventually, the buildup becomes so bad, the water heater cannot efficiently make hot water.

What type of water heater do you have in your home?

A tank-style water heater typically has a shorter lifespan compared to a tankless model. Traditional tank-based heaters deteriorate faster from having to store and maintain pre-heated water at the desired temperature. With tankless water heaters, hot water is created on demand so there is not much as a strain on the heater. Some tankless models have lasted as long as 20 years or more!

How does the water heater make hot water?

Electric water heaters tend to not last as long as gas water heaters. This is because natural gas is more efficient at heating water. With electric heaters, there are heating elements and other components that are required to heat the water. These parts and components tend to wear out much faster, becoming corroded or calcified.

Do you have water heater maintenance performed regularly?

Water heaters do require regular maintenance to maintain efficient operation. Ideally, you want to have your water heater serviced annually. Additionally, regular maintenance may be required as part of your warranty coverage.

How to Make Your Water Heater Last as Long as Possible

There are a few simple things you can do to help extend the life of your water heater, as follows:

  • Have your plumber perform annual maintenance on your water heater. Annual maintenance can help identify potential problems and resolve them before they become major repairs.
  • Have a water softener and filtration system installed if you have hard water. Soft water won’t leave deposits and buildup inside the water heater.
  • Insulate your tank-style water heater so it doesn’t have to work as hard. Have your plumber install insulation around the water heater to reduce heat loss.

Signs It Is Time to Replace Your Water Heater

As your water heater is nearing the end of its life, it will start to exhibit certain signs to give you fair warning it is time to start thinking about getting a new water heater. Some of the more common ones include:

  • The water heater keeps running out of hot water.
  • The water heater cannot keep up with your home’s hot water demands.
  • There is sediment buildup inside the water heater.
  • The bottom of the tank is rusting or leaking.
  • You are taking more cold showers than hot showers.
  • You hear popping, snapping, and cracking sounds coming from the water heater.
  • You notice rust is coming out of your faucets when using hot water.
  • You notice warm water, not hot water, coming out your faucets that quickly turns to cold water.

There are also a few replacement situations you need to be aware of that are potentially dangerous and hazardous:

  • If you hear the water inside the tank boiling, you need to shut off the power and gas, if applicable, to the heater and call your plumber immediately.
  • If you notice the pilot light will not stay lit, or you hear small exploding noises when your gas water heater turns on, shut off the gas and power to the water heater and call your plumber.

What Water Heater Replacement Options Are Available?

Water heater replacement options include tank-style water heaters and tankless water heaters. Both are available in electric and gas models. Tankless models tend to be more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly since the heater only makes hot water when you need it.

Deciding what replacement option is best for your home does depend on your hot water needs and the volume of hot water you use daily. For further assistance and help choosing the best water heater replacement for your home, or water heater repairs and maintenance, please feel free to contact Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing at 512-246-5400 today!

We can also take care of all your other plumbing, heating, and cooling needs in San Antonio, Temple, New Braunfels, and the Austin Metro area.

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