If you recently bought a house and you find out a new water heater was installed 5 years ago, you might be wondering how much longer you have until you need to replace it. We’ll get right to the point— how long do water heaters last?
Most standard water heaters last between 10-15 years before you notice any signs of it failing. With tankless water heaters, you can often get even more years out of them. We’ll go through how long you can expect your water heater to last and how to prolong its life expectancy.
How Long Does a Water Heater Last on Average?
Like we stated, most standard water heaters can be expected to last between 10 and 15 years. The average lifespan of water heaters is between 8-10 years, but with more enhanced and modern technologies, they can last upwards of 15-20+ years.
Of course, this requires proper installation and ongoing maintenance to uphold its integrity. If you’re not sure how old your water heater is, there are some tell-tale signs that can indicate its age or at the very least, indicate needing repairs or replacement.
10 Signs Your Water Heater Needs to be Replaced
There are at least 10 signs that your water heater needs to be serviced. Here are some of the most common ones to watch out for.
1) Your Water Heater Makes Strange Noises
If you hear loud banging, knocking, or other strange noises coming from your water heater, then it might be time for a new one. While some occasional noises are completely normal, as your water heater ages, mineral deposits can build up, making it harder to heat up the water. These loud noises are likely from mineral deposits and sediment banging around or making the heating elements work harder. A water heater flush can help solve this issue.
2) You Run Out of Hot Water
If every shower you take seems to run cold before you’re finished, this is a good sign that there’s an issue with the heating element in your water heater.
3) Inconsistent or Fluctuating Water Temperature
Again, mineral deposits around the heating elements and other components of your water heater can cause the water temperature to fluctuate between cold, warm, and hot without you touching anything.
4) Odd Smells
If your water heater is not used for an extended period of time, the prolonged inactivity will create a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. This accumulation of hydrogen sulfide can end up in your faucets and you may be able to detect it by its distinct odor or taste.
5) You Have Rusty Water
If you’re seeing rusty or discolored water coming from both your hot and cold faucets, it’s likely an issue with your pipes, such as sediment coming loose, which would require replacing some of your pipes by a professional. If it’s only coming from the hot water tap, it could mean the anode rod heating element of your water heater could be damaged. Since it’s made of metals, when it’s damaged, it can lead to this discoloration.
6) Low Hot Water Pressure
Having hard water deposits or corrosion built up in the hot water outlet can impede on your immediate source of hot water. Not only does it reduce pressure, but for those with tankless water heaters, this blockage may prevent the system from even turning on.
7) Wet Spots Around Your Water Heater
Leaks around your water heater can mean there are holes in the tank from corrosion and rust. This type of issue can be tough to repair, so if your water heater is over 10 years old and leaking, it’s likely time for a replacement.
8) You Only Get Lukewarm Water
Some things, like the weather being incredibly cold outside and turning your heat settings down, can cause lukewarm water to come out of your fixtures. But there can also be an issue with your water heater if you can rule out those things.
Electric and gas water heaters both rely on specific components in order to function properly. On an electric heater, if one of these elements stops working, it can result in lukewarm water coming out of the tap instead of hot. The same is true for a gas system: lukewarm water indicates that there may be something wrong with the burner inside your gas unit.
9) Your Hot Water is Cloudy
This cloudiness can be a sign of excessive minerals in the water, which could indicate that your anode rod is corroding away or you have built up sediment that needs to be flushed. It can also mean aeration in your pipes, which a professional plumber can help determine.
10) It’s Been a Year or More Since You Serviced It
Regular maintenance is vital to ensuring your water heater actually lasts as long as it should, and maybe even longer if you’re fortunate enough. If it’s been over a year since you serviced your water heater and you notice any of the above issues, it might just need some maintenance and repairs vs. full replacement.
Maintenance Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Water Heater
Maintaining your water heater may sound intimidating, but it’s very simple. There are four helpful things you can do to prolong the life of your water heater and ensure it’s working as optimally as possible.
1) Flush it Regularly
Flushing your water heater on a regular basis helps remove sediment build up and other contaminants that can lead to issues we’ve talked about like low pressure, fluctuating temperatures, reduced efficiency, and more.
2) Install a Whole Home Filter
Investing in a whole home filter that is between your water supply and your water heater can actually help prevent a lot of that sediment from making its way into your water heater.
3) Check Your Water Pressure
It’s important to make sure your water pressure isn’t too high. If it is, you may have to install a pressure-reducing valve to ensure that it stays within the ideal range for your water heater (generally between 45 and 80 psi).
4) Test Your Water Pressure Relief Valve
It is critical to frequently inspect the pressure relief valve for optimal performance and safety. If you are not confident with performing such a maintenance task, it is highly suggested that you hire an experienced professional.
In addition to maintaining your water heater, you definitely want to make sure you replace the water heater before it’s too late. If you don’t, you can face a slew of issues, from increased heating bills to damaging leaks.
Getting Professional Water Heater Installation
When the time does come to repair or replace your water heater, local homeowners lean on Aquarius Home Services for the best water heater service around. As an authorized dealer of Bradford-White water heaters, we can provide you with industry-leading products, installation, and maintenance that will serve your home well for years to come. We also offer modern tankless systems with up to $300 rebates. Reach out to Aquarius to learn more and schedule a system check!