How Long Do Hot Water Heaters Last?

Homeowners have a lot of responsibilities on their hands, especially when it comes to home maintenance. Visible aspects of the home, like the siding, doors, and windows are easy to keep tabs on and update as needed, but to keep your house functioning well, you also need to maintain appliances like your water heater. The last thing you want is a cold water surprise that forces you to unexpectedly replace your water heater. How long do water heaters last? Keep reading to find out.

How Long Water Heaters Last?

As with most appliances, the answer to “how long do hot water heaters last?” depends on the type and quality of the heater.

There are several factors that influence how long a water heater lasts, including maintenance and usage. However, one helpful way to get a general idea is to look at the manufacturer’s warranty. Most often, the appliance will last as long as the warranty, and after that it becomes uncertain. When evaluating how often or when to replace the water heater, it’s best to take a conservative estimate based on the warranty period.

On average, you can expect water heaters to last roughly 6 to 12 years, but let’s take a closer look at a few examples.

Rheem Performance Water Heater

The Rheem Performance water heater is a 50-gallon, 4500 to 4500 watt electric tank heater. It has a 6-year warranty. Therefore, it likely lasts about 6-7 years.

Rheeem Performance Water Heater

Rheem Performance Plus 50

The Rheem Performance Plus is another 50-gallon, 4500 to 4500-watt water heater. It has a longer lifespan than the Performance model, with a warranty lasting 9 years. Based on the warranty, we can expect this one to last 9-10 years.

Rheem Performance Plus Water Heater

Rheem Gladiator

The Rheem Gladiator 50-gallon, 4500-4500 water heater has a long 12-year warranty. It is a smart electric water heater that includes leak detection and auto-shutoff.

Rheem Gladiator Water Heater

How Long Do Tankless Water Heaters Last?

When considering the lifespan of a water heater, it’s important to note that tankless heaters last longer (up to 20 years). They are not exposed to the same water-based corrosion as a water heater with a tank. This helps to avoid a lot of common wear and damage. Furthermore, the parts are easy to replace, which facilitates repair over replacement many times.

Before jumping to a tankless heater though, consider that there is a limit to how much water it can heat at a time. If you use several hot water sources (dishwasher, washing machine, shower, etc) all at the same time, the water temperature may fluctuate.

Signs to Replace Your Water Heater

Time is not the only way to determine when to replace your water heater. There are also some surefire signs that it may be dying out. Here are warning signs to keep an eye out for:

Dirty Water

If you notice dirty or brown water coming from your shower or sinks, your water heater may be the reason. Rust inside the tank can cause water to brown. It may not always require replacement, but you should certainly have it looked at.

No Hot Water

If blasts of cold water appear during your showers, the water heater may not be doing its job. As these appliances get older and obtain sediment build-up, they often become less efficient. A broken heating element may also be the culprit.

Strange Sounds

Banging, loud rumbles, popping, or other strange sounds are also a signal that your water heater has an issue. These noises signal a malfunction, so it’s important to address them as quickly as possible.

Leaking Water Tank

Leaking water is a huge warning sign and not one to ignore! If you see water around the base of your heater, then it likely needs replacement. Address this as soon as possible, as water can do a lot of damage to your home.

Tips for Helping Your Water Heater Last Longer

How you take care of your water heater does impact how long it will last. There are a few key ways to increase the longevity of your water heater and help it last even longer than the expected warranty.

Use a Water Filter

A water filter is one effective way to protect your water heater and extend its lifespan. The filter helps remove sediment and dirt from the water, in turn preventing those things from harming the inside of the heater. It helps protect the appliance from corrosion, which ultimately boosts efficiency and extends the lifespan of the heater.

Water Softener

Hard water is water that contains a high mineral content. It can drastically reduce the lifespan of your water heater because the minerals leave behind deposits that cause issues. Hard water may have a cloudy or chalky look/feel. If the water leaves behind a white residue on your dishes, or you find your clothes are rough and dull, you have hard water.

Adding a water softener is a simple way to reduce mineral buildup in your system and help it last longer. The system removes the calcium and magnesium via ion exchange. Note that you may need to add salt to your water softener based on the model’s recommendations. However, there are also electric or dual-tank water softeners available.

Choose the Right Water Heater

The lifespan of a water heater can vary drastically depending on the specific model and type. Choosing the right one for your home is important. When selecting a water heater, opt for one that’s high quality with a strong warranty. Additionally, use a water filter and softener to help your heater last longer!

Get Help with Water Heater Replacement

Eventually, the time comes for water heater replacement. When that time comes, Intown Plumbing is here to help. Our experienced team is happy to help you figure out the correct size and type of water heater for your home. Whether you are interested in a tankless option or a traditional storage tank, our experts have the knowledge you need to make the best possible choice.

If you notice any issues with your water heater, give us a call. We will assess your appliance and handle any servicing you need! Contact us today.

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