Warm running water can be considered a modern-day household essential for many homeowners. It is arguably a necessity for hand washing, showering, cooking, and cleaning. Whilst most homeowners are aware that a water heater does not last forever, it can sometimes be difficult to estimate their life expectancy.
The average lifespan of water heaters is roughly between 8 and 10 years. Even the best water heaters do not tend to work well beyond 1 decade or so. There are some factors that can accelerate the aging process, likewise there are some ways to prolong the life of a water heater as far as possible.
This article will explore factors that may affect the average product life cycle of your water heater, when it may be time to replace it, how to prolong the life cycle of your water heater and the cost implications of installing a new one in your home.
Read on to gather all of the relevant information you need to properly gauge the lifespan of a water heater.
What is a Water Heater?
Before exploring the lifespan of a water heater, it is worthwhile briefly outlining exactly what a water heater is and why it is used.
A water heater is a tool used for the heating of water for domestic use. Water heaters can be powered by either gas or electricity, and it is useful to research which type you feel is best suited to your household needs before purchasing one.
Hot water is used for a multitude of household purposes and is an important part of the everyday running of most households. For example, hot water is often required for cooking, cleaning, and bathing.
When should I Replace my Water Heater?
We all know that nothing lasts forever, and this is certainly true of water heaters. As mentioned, water heaters typically last up to 10 years before needing to be replaced. (Related: Water Heater Replacement Cost and Consumer Guides) There are several signs to look out for that can help you identify if it’s time for a replacement to be installed:
It is surprisingly common for homeowners not to be aware of the expiration date of their water heater. However, the age of a water heater should be an important consideration when deciding whether to purchase a new one or not. If a water heater is too old, it can pose a significant risk to your home.
A water heater should be replaced every decade at least, however signs of aging can show up before this date.
A major issue that can occur with regard to water heaters is rusty water building up on the heater inlet valve. When rust can be observed on a water heater, it can serve as a warning sign that a leak may be expected prominently.
Rust is a water heater issue that should be dealt with immediately as it can disrupt the sanitation of your household water.
Healthy water heaters do not generally make any noise. Therefore, any new noise that can be observed coming from the heater is a strong indicator of an underlying issue.
Noise coming from your heater is usually because of one of the following reasons:
- 1Sediment build-up – Sediment often forms on the bottom of the tank and hardens over time. This process wears down the heater and can accelerate any other damage and, in turn, render your heater inefficient.
- 2Heater has not been flushed – Heaters should be flushed once a year to drain any sediment. Unusual noise can be a sign that your heater needs to be flushed. This process can also work to prolong the life expectancy of your heater.
Another tell-tale sign that it is time to replace your water heater is if you notice any amount of water leaking from the tank.
Water leaks usually occur when the water heater tank expands because of many heating cycles over the tank’s lifetime. These expansions cause fractures to form in the metal, allowing small amounts of water to leak through the gaps.
Leaks can also happen if the heater has been fitted poorly, so it is always best to have them fitted by a licensed contractor to minimize any risk of leaks.
Factors Affecting Water Heater Aging
Although water heaters tend to not work beyond 10 years, there are some factors that may accelerate the aging process.
- 1Cluttered space - A cluttered space around the water heater poses risk of the water heater overheating and potentially creates a fire hazard.
- 2Irregular check-ups - Not getting your heater checked regularly for maintenance issues can increase the likelihood of major issues happening, and you having to replace your heater sooner.
- 3Not flushing - Not flushing your heater at least once a year can cause premature aging as allows sediment to build up and can cause complications in the long run.
How to Extend the Life of your Water Heater
Having discussed the factors that can accelerate the aging process, it is worth exploring some of the ways you can prolong the life of your water heater.
How much does a new Water Heater Cost?
The average cost to replace a water heater in the US is around $1,700. However, there are often additional costs that you should be aware of. For example, service costs can be up to $100 extra.
But, there are some factors that may impact the final price for installation of the heater. We will outline some of these below:
In this article, we’ve addressed how long a water heater should last, concluding that the average life expectancy of a water heater is 8 to 10 years – but this is dependent on how well maintained it is and various other factors.
We discovered that various signs could indicate that it is time to replace your water heater – such as noise, leaks, rust, and age. And we found that several factors can either hinder or extend the life cycle of your water heater, such as getting it regularly checked, ensuring it is in a de-cluttered area, adding an expansion tank and installing a water softener.
Similarly, a replacement water heater costs on average $1,700, but various factors may affect the cost implications of replacing your water heater. Variables include how difficult the installation process is, additional parts you may want to add, service charges, and the type of heater you are installing.
All of these factors are important in helping you, as a homeowner, navigate the product life cycle of a water heater.