How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

Water heaters generally last about 10 to 15 years. However, several factors affect the actual lifespan of these appliances.

Here’s what you need to know about:

  • Water heater lifespans
  • What causes water heaters to fail
  • Common warning signs that it’s time for a new water heater

5 Factors that Affect Water Heater Lifespans

The number of years you can expect your water heater to last depends on these factors:

  1. Whether you have an electric or gas water heater: Natural gas provides more economical, environmentally friendly water heating than electricity. In fact, electric water heaters typically don’t last as long as gas water heaters, and they usually cost twice as much to operate.
  2. Whether you have a traditional tank or a tankless water heater: Traditional storage water heaters and hybrid water heaters may begin showing signs of aging after about 10 years. If your unit breaks down at this age, a replacement is probably more cost-effective than a repair. However, tankless models can last 20 years or longer. Since they don’t hold a constant supply of hot water, they can operate efficiently for years longer than traditional water heaters.
  3. Water quality: Hard water, which contains more dissolved minerals than soft water, can lead to scale buildup within your water heater. A whole-house water softener can generally double the life of a water heater.
  4. Where your water heater is installed: Water heaters located in unfinished spaces, such as the garage or crawlspace, must work harder to maintain a hot temperature, especially in the winter. Units in these locations wear out faster than those installed in temperature-controlled areas of homes.
  5. Whether or how you maintain your water heater: Did you know that manufacturers recommend annual water heater maintenance? While this service may be necessary to keep your warranty valid, it can also prolong the life of your water heater by several years.

Common Reasons Water Heaters Break Down

What causes a hardworking water heater to fail suddenly? The two most common reasons include:

  • Overpressurization: When the water pressure exceeds the tank’s specifications, water heaters will break down faster. This can occur because of excessive heat or too much pressure at the water inlet. To avoid these problems, set your water heater to 120˚ to 140˚F, and adjust the inlet valve to decrease the water flow.
  • Sediment buildup: Minerals and chemicals in water leave deposits on the bottom of the tank. These build up over time, causing rust and corrosion inside the tank, which can leak and other problems.

4 Signs Your Water Heater Needs to Be Replaced

Here are some common red flags that you likely need water heater repair or replacement service:

  1. The water heater doesn’t generate enough hot water.
  2. Your water heater is banging, gurgling, rumbling, or making other strange sounds.
  3. Hot water from the tap appears red or brown.
  4. The tank is leaking water onto the floor.

Whenever you need water heater service in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, Genz-Ryan Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning can help! Our local Twin Cities plumbers offer the complete range of water heater services, from installations and replacements to repair and maintenance.

For more help with your water heater, please contact Genz-Ryan today at (612) 223-6158.