Your water heater is one of the most relied-upon and important parts of your plumbing system. However, due to the strain that it experiences day after day and the amount you rely on your system, it’s also one of the parts of your plumbing system that wears out fairly quickly. When you consider that replacing your water heater is a large and expensive service, it’s completely understandable to want to try and prolong the life of your water heater as much as possible.
In this blog, our team will go over how long you can expect your average water heater to last and give you a few tips you can follow to sustain your water heater for several additional years of reliable use, thus maximizing the value of your investment in your home’s hot water supply.
How Long Will My Water Heater Last?
Your water heater doesn’t have an expiration date, nor does it have any sort of indication that it will fail on any given date or time. Thus, the answer to this question isn’t all that straightforward. Water heaters that have lighter workloads and are better cared-for will generally last far longer than one that receives little to no attention over the course of its life. However, as a general baseline, the average water heater has an expected lifespan of around eight years.
Extending the Life of Your Water Heater
You should already start planning towards replacement after 10 year old water heater unless you have been maintaining it yearly. A total heater replacement can come to over $1,000 after all permit fees, installation costs, taxes, and other expenses are added in together—a number that no homeowner wants to have to pay roughly every decade. However, you aren’t doomed to suffer in that kind of a cycle; giving your water heater a little bit of extra attention and care can help extend its lifespan and give you several additional years of use. When your system lasts longer, you maximize the value of your investment in your home, and even enjoy some additional money-saving benefits as well.
The first thing you can do to extend the life of your water heater is to monitor your water quality. The water your home receives from either your well system or from your public water connection is not nearly as pure as you might be led to think. While this water is potable and clean enough for daily use, there’s a good chance it also includes concentrations of minerals like calcium and magnesium in addition to other substances that can slightly alter your water’s pH levels. That means added residue and mineral crystal accumulation in your tank in addition to added wear and tear on your tank itself. All of these things contribute to your water heater tank wearing out faster than it should.
Another thing you can monitor is your water pressure. Water pressure is very much a “silent killer” for your plumbing system—too much pressure and many different parts of your plumbing system can suffer throughout your home. Your water heater is among these things—too much water pressure puts added wear and tear on your tank, places added strain on hot water lines, and contributes to leaking gaskets, blown seals, and even tanks that start to leak faster than they should. As professional plumbers, we recommend you have your water pressure tested annually and have your water pressure regulator replaced as necessary to keep your water heater working as it should.
Finally, you should regularly flush your water heater completely to remove any of the mineral residue and buildup in your tank. As you use your water heater, the heavy mineral elements tend to sink to the bottom of the tank and accumulate into crystals that can be removed by flushing your water heater tank out. Flushing your tank is generally simple, takes only an hour or two, and can remove these substances that cause additional wear and tear on your tank and reduce your heater’s energy efficiency.
Ditch the Tank & Go Tankless Today!
While these are all great ways to prolong the lifespan of your water heater, standard tank water heaters themselves are part of the problem. While we’ve used them regularly for years, their inherent design is flawed in many ways and is by nature prone to a number of the issues that cause them to wear out fairly quickly. Today, there is a superior alternative to your traditional water heater: the tankless water heater. Tankless water heaters heat the water you need on-demand, meaning they avoid a number of the same problems that your tank-style heater is prone to. They can continuously heat water as you need it, meaning you’ll never run out of hot water again and save money on your energy bills in the process.
And finally, perhaps the greatest benefit to these systems is that they are incredibly durable. With nothing more than a once-per-year flushing maintenance service, a tankless water heater can easily last 20 to 30 years, and some will even last quite a bit longer. Likewise, most of these units are completely serviceable, meaning any sort of fault or flaw that may develop over time can be repaired rather than replacing the entire system outright. For most homeowners, your upgrade to tankless water heating will be the last water heater you ever have to buy for as long as you own your home.
If the time has come to replace your water heater, turn to the local pros from All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical! Dial (909) 253-0664 today to request an estimate or to find out more about upgrading to a tankless water heater system.