September 25, 2021

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How Long Do Water Heaters Last

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A water heater is an essential household commodity, especially if you dislike taking cold showers in the morning. There are different kinds of water heaters like electric and solar and users will be spoilt for choice in the market.

The durability of a water heater varies depending on the manufacturer, but we can assure you that a good quality water heater will last between 10 to 12 years. A water heater older than this is usually on its last legs and you would need to replace it eventually. In this guide, we will be detailing the different reasons as to why the water heater breaks down and also when you ought to be replacing it.

How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

A normal electric water heater has a lifespan of around 10-12 years. You can also check the serial number to determine how old the product actually is. There is also another category called Tankless Water Heaters. Here, the difference is that they do not possess a storage tank and therefore suffer less wear and damage. With good maintenance, it is not unreasonable to think that they can go for 20 years or more.

Factors that Determine the Lifespan of Your Water Heater

  • Electric/Gas Heater- It is common knowledge that gas heaters are more economical and eco-friendly. They also last longer than electric heaters and involve cheaper operating costs.
  • Tank or Tankless model- We have already discussed that tankless water heaters are more durable when compared to traditional water heaters. Since they don’t hold the water, they experience less wear and consequently last longer.
  • Water quality- Hard water contains dissolved minerals in higher concentrations than soft water and can lead to a buildup of scale. This might damage the heater in the long run.
  • Location of the heater-Heater installed in areas like the garage and crawlspace may need more power to heat up the water. This will wear out the heater.
  • Maintenance-Proper maintenance will do wonders in improving the lifespan of the heater.

Common Reasons for Faulty Water Heater

  • Excessive Pressure- When the water pressure rises above the tank specification, it is not good for the heater. This might be due to high heat content or inlet pressure. What you can do is reduce the temperature to 120 F and decrease the inlet flow.
  • The buildup of sediments- Chemicals and minerals present in the water gets deposited at the bottom of the tank. They will eventually cause rust, corrosion, and even lead to leakage.

Signs Which Indicate that the Water Heater Needs to be Replaced

  • Insufficient hot water-If you are not getting enough hot water, it is probably time to get it inspected by a professional.
  • When it is making strange sounds or rumbling while operating.
  • Water is leaking out onto the floor.
  • Hot Water appears in a reddish or brown color. It could indicate minerals or another sediment buildup in the tank.

How Often Should you Replace Your Heater?

The lifespan of a water heater depends on the factors mentioned above. However, depending on the model’s expected lifespan, it is better to start searching for a replacement at least 2 years before the expected lifespan. We would not recommend waiting until the water heater dies to get a replacement in.


We hope you have enjoyed this guide about water heaters and their maintenance. The one mistake that you should not commit is to wait until the heater dies to bring in a replacement. While choosing a heater, it is always best to opt for a reputed brand like Whirlpool or Kenmore. For any queries regarding the content, do write to us.

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