Serving Colorado, Denver and Surrounding Areas

Serving Colorado, Denver and Surrounding Areas

How Long Does a Hot Water Heater Last?

A father and son using a kitchen sink to wash their hands.

As homeowners, we want to believe that all of our home appliances, devices, and systems will last forever. However, this is only wishful thinking. When it comes down to it, practically everything in your home must be replaced at some point — including your water heater.

It’s a good idea to replace your water heater before it gives out entirely. This way, you can ensure that you’re never without hot water in your home.

So, how long does a hot water heater last on average? Although these important appliances tend to have an average lifespan, a few factors can impact how long they end up lasting. Let’s go over everything you need to know below.

What Is the Average Water Heater Lifespan?

If it’s been some time since you installed your water heater, it’s understandable if you’re starting to panic. Hot water is an integral part of everyday life, so your water heater breaking down isn’t something you want to experience.

So, how long does a hot water heater last on the whole? All-in-all, if you have a traditional water heater with a storage tank, you can expect it to last between eight to 12 years. Sometimes these units can last up to 15 years. On the flip side of this, tankless water heaters are known to have an average lifespan of 20 years.

If you want to determine your water heater’s age, you can check the manufacturer’s label on the unit. You’ll either be given the installation date or serial number, which can help you understand when the appliance was manufactured.

What Can Affect the Lifespan of a Water Heater?

The unfortunate truth is that various circumstances can impact water heater life expectancy. So if you want to get a better idea of how long your appliance will last, you’ll want to consider these three important factors.

Regular Maintenance

Keeping up with your water heater’s maintenance needs can help it last longer — which shouldn’t be surprising. When you schedule routine maintenance services, a professional technician will check various components, such as the pressure relief valve and heating element, for proper functionality. If something is wrong, the technician will provide the necessary repair to get everything back on track.

So, how long do water heaters last with annual maintenance services? Although there is no definitive answer to this question, you can generally expect to achieve a longer water heater lifespan than if you were to ignore maintenance altogether. This is especially true for tank water heaters, which can suffer from sediment buildup.

When cold water enters the water heater tank to get heated, this water will usually contain debris, such as naturally occurring minerals. Unfortunately, this sediment can accumulate at the bottom of the tank over time and negatively affect the water heater’s performance. Ultimately, you may encounter higher utility bills or need to replace the appliance prematurely.

All-in-all, it’s essential to recognize that maintenance can significantly impact water heater lifespans. Both tankless and traditional units should be maintained at least once a year to ensure everything is working correctly.

Hot Water Usage

Your water heater has one job: heating water for your family to use. This is certainly no small feat, as it’s pretty safe to say that you use hot water every day — for everything from showering to washing dishes. Unfortunately, the amount of hot water you use can impact your water heater lifespan.

The more hot water you use, the harder your water heater will have to work to keep up with your demand. If your water heater is constantly having to heat up more water to meet your needs, it can experience more wear and tear than if you only used hot water on occasion.

Anode Rod Condition

Traditional tank water heaters have a critical component known as the “anode rod.” Some people even refer to this part as the “sacrificial anode rod” since its sole purpose is to attract harmful minerals to itself and corrode in place of the water heater tank.

The anode rod is fundamental; without it, your water heater tank would corrode at a much quicker rate. Unfortunately, this anode rod needs to be replaced from time to time, as it will eventually rust to the point of failure.

Forgetting to replace the anode rod can have a negative impact on water heater life expectancy, so it’s vital to stay on top of this maintenance task. Some warning signs of a bad anode rod include discolored water and a rotten egg smell — so don’t overlook these red flags when you notice them in your home.

How long does a hot water heater last when the anode rod goes bad? Really, you can expect your electric or gas water heater to fail much sooner than expected. That’s because the tank will immediately start to corrode now that there isn’t an anode rod to sacrifice itself in its place.

Install an Efficient Water Heater With Squeaks!

So how long does a water heater last on average? As you can see, the answer to this question can depend on a few factors. But in a nutshell, tankless water heater life expectancy is usually around 20 years, while tankless units tend to last up to 15 years.

Now that you’re familiar with the average water heater lifespan, it’s time to call the experts at Squeaks Plumbing & Heating! We understand that it’s crucial to have access to hot water. That’s why our licensed Denver plumbers provide many services, including Navien tankless water heater maintenance, to meet your needs.

Has the time come for an upgrade? We can replace your water heater with an energy-efficient model. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

A father and son using a kitchen sink to wash their hands.

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