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How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

We get a lot of calls from customers asking us how long their water heater should last. Some people want to get a water heater replacement before theirs causes any problems, while others want to see how long they can make their current one last.

Most water heaters last somewhere between 6 and 13 years. In fact, if yours is more than 12 years old, you should know that it could fail at any time.

The longevity of your water heater depends on a few factors:

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  • The quality of the water running through it. More minerals equal more buildup, which equals a shorter lifespan.
  • How often you perform water heater maintenance. You can call us to maintain your water heater or do it yourself. Either way, regular maintenance can extend the life of your water heater significantly.
  • Whether you get water heater repair in a timely manner. Do you wait until your water heater is dying to repair it or do you call us at the first sign of a problem? The sooner you call, the more likely we can fix your heater and keep it running a little while longer.

Should I Replace My Water Heater?

With such a large possible lifespan, how do you know when you need to replace your water heater? Most of the time, the ultimate choice is up to you. However, here are a few signs that it’s time to think about getting a new water heater:

Rusty Water

Do you have rusty water coming from your hot water taps? If so, it’s a strong indicator that your heater is rusting on the inside and may start leaking soon. To make sure that your tank is the problem and not rusty pipes, drain a few buckets of hot water out of the water heater. If the water still comes out rusty by the third bucket, the water heater is the most probable culprit.

Unusual Noises

Sediment builds up in water heater tanks as systems age. As it is heated over and over, it begins to harden and may cause rumbling or banging sounds. When this happens, it’s a sign that your water heater is nearing the end of its useful life.

The layer of sediment decreases efficiency, and the extra time required to heat water puts additional strain on the system. This can cause the tank to develop small holes. If you hear a rumbling sound from your water heater, contact a plumber right away.

Water Around the Heater

A small leak or fracture may cause moisture around your water heater, even if you don’t see water coming from the tank. Metal expands when heated, making water heater tanks more likely to leak when heating. Once the metal cools and the metal contracts, small leaks may stop until the unit heats up again.

Intermittent Hot Water/Less Hot Water Than Usual

If you find that you get random spouts of hot water followed quickly by cold water, or if in general you find that you get less hot water than you’re used to, it’s a sign that you need to replace your water heater.

Advancing Age

If you have a conventional water heater with a storage tank that’s more than 10 years old, you might want to consider replacing it before you have a problem. Not sure how old your water heater is? Check the serial number. The first two digits typically indicate the year the unit was manufactured. Date codes may vary slightly, so double check the manufacturer’s website to make sure.

If you want a water heater replacement or you want us to evaluate the function of your current heater, call us at Neerings today! We’ll help you get the perfect new water heater for your home, and help you with any other plumbing services you might need, too!