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How Long Does a Water Heater Typically Last?

When you turn on your shower in the morning to get ready for the day, you have the right to expect hot water to come from the tap. It’s easy to forget about the importance of your home’s water heater, that is until it stops working. Before you wake up to a cold shower, you should consider the expected life span of your water heater. This will help you make plans for replacement before you face a water heater emergency.

What Is the Expected Life Span for a Water Heater?

So just how long can you expect a water heater to last? The answer to this question is a bit more complex than you might think. Most of the time, your water heater will come with a five or six-year warranty when it’s brand new. Clearly, the manufacturer expects it to last longer than this, but how much longer?

For most homes, a brand-new water heater should last at least five or six years. Most homeowners report that their lasts between 10 and 15 years for a tank model and closer to 20 years for a tankless model. Some specialty types, like fiberglass units, can last much longer than this.

What Factors Impact a Water Heater’s Life Span?

The most obvious factor that impacts the water heater’s life span is the type of water heater you have and what material it is made from. Tank model water heaters, for instance, are made from metal with a glass coating on the inside. As the water heater fills and heats the water, the water expands and puts pressure on that glass coating. Over time it will break down and the water will touch the metal lining, leading to the entire unit going bad. Once the water touches the metal the unit will start to rust, and eventually, it will start to leak and you will need to replace it.

Tankless water heaters have less risk of rust because they don’t store water inside, but their moving parts can also break down over time. Fiberglass water heaters are the most costly to install, but they have little risk of rust and last much longer as a result. Regardless, all types can eventually break down.

How to Extend a Water Heater’s Life Span

Maintenance can help extend the water heater’s life. As your water heater ages, it will have sediment built up inside the tank. Cleaning this sediment out with regular water heater flushes can extend the life of the unit.

Replacing the anode rode every five years can also help. The anode rod is located at the top of the water heater. Its job is to attract corrosive elements in the water away from the unit to keep the rest of the tank from rusting. Replacing it costs little and can extend the life of your heater significantly, but this maintenance task is easy to overlook.

Partner with a Licensed Plumber for Water Heater Services

Your water heater is just like all other appliances in your home. It is an important part of your home’s function and comfort, but it requires proper care to do its job well. Partnering with a licensed plumber will help you properly care for your water heater so you can get the longest possible life span from it. R. S. Andrews offers a full list of plumbing services, including water heater services, to help you with your home’s comfort needs.

Schedule water heater maintenance and repair services, or discuss replacement, by calling 770-913-6412 or contacting our team online to discuss water heater installation services. 

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