Have you replaced your home’s water heater recently? No? Then, it’s understandable if you’re starting to worry. Like all appliances, there will come a time when your water heater needs to be replaced. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to determine if it’s time to replace your system once and for all.

How long does a water heater last? While there is a cut-and-dry answer to this question, it’s also important to note that several factors can affect the longevity of your specific unit. Let’s discuss the average life of water heaters and how to know it’s time for a replacement.

The Average Lifespan of a Water Heater

“How long does a water heater last?” To fully answer this question, we’ll need to talk about the two types of water heaters on the market: tank and tankless. Believe it or not, these units tend to have different lifespans.

Tank water heaters can last 8 to 12 years on average. On the flip side, tankless water heaters can typically have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years.

Are you unsure how long you’ve had your water heater? If you want to check the age of your unit, you can! All you have to do is look for the manufacturer’s label on the side of the water heater tank. This will tell you the date of installation. If your unit doesn’t have a label for whatever reason, you can track down the serial number, which will usually tell you the month and year that it was manufactured. You will want to check the manufacturer’s website to know how to properly read the serial number. Every model is different.

Tank vs. Tankless

Why do tankless water heaters tend to last longer than their tank counterparts? It all comes down to the parts they have and the way they function. Traditional tank systems have many parts that tankless units simply don’t have. For example, tank water heaters have anode rods that can corrode over time. When the anode rod doesn’t work properly, it can negatively affect the performance of your system.

It’s also worth mentioning that tankless units typically require less maintenance than traditional tank units. These traditional water heaters can accumulate sediment buildup at the bottom of the tank. The mineral deposits can lower the efficiency of your unit. When your water heater has poor efficiency, it will have to work harder to meet your hot water needs — experiencing more wear and tear in the process.

Gas vs. Electric

The average life of water heaters can also vary depending on the fuel type. For instance, gas waters typically have a shorter service life than electric units. This difference in lifespan is mostly due to the clean operation of electric water heaters.

No matter how you choose to power your water heater, you should always remember to keep up-to-date with maintenance. Scheduling regular maintenance for your water heater will ensure that everything is working properly. As you can imagine, a unit that works smoothly and efficiently often has the chance to last longer.

Hard vs. Soft Water

Water heaters can be affected by hard and soft water. When push comes to shove, hard water can lower the lifespan of your water heater. Hard water contains minerals that can build up within a tank water heater, making it difficult for the system to work correctly — and potentially leading to failure.

How long does a water heater last with soft water? Treating your home’s water with a water softener can considerably improve the longevity of a traditional tank system.

Signs Your Water Heater Is About to Fail

The average life of water heaters can be affected by many factors. Now that we’ve discussed them in-depth, it’s time to go over the warning signs that your unit is about to fail.

Although some parts can be repaired — such as a pressure relief valve — there may come a time when replacing a water heater is the most appropriate solution.

Insufficient Hot Water

Heating water and sending it out for you to enjoy is the main goal of any water heater. If your unit is struggling to meet your hot water needs — or worse, only produces cold water — it may be time to schedule a replacement.

Sometimes, a lack of hot water can be easy to fix. All a technician needs to do is replace the heating elements or make a minor repair. However, if your water heater is getting old and is constantly in need of repairs, a full replacement could be the most cost-effective solution in the long run.

Rusty, Discolored Water

Rusty water is never a reassuring sign. If you’ve noticed discolored water when running the hot water tap, it’s important to note that your water heater tank is probably corroding. Corrosion cannot be reversed. Instead, a replacement is the only solution to this problem.

Strange Popping Noises

Has your water heater been making strange sounds? If so, it could be nearing the end of its service life. It’s important to have a professional perform an inspection at the first sign of these noises. The technician will let you know if your water heater is failing or if a repair is all that’s needed.

In some instances, a repair can help your unit reach the average life of water heaters. If your water heater is getting old and keeps getting in the way of your comfort, it might be time for a full system upgrade.

Water Heater Leaks

When a water heater corrodes, the tank can spring a leak. If this happens, you’ll usually find water pooling around the bottom of the tank. In most cases, a Phoenix, AZ, water heater repair won’t be enough to fix the problem.

How long does a water heater last when it leaks? It can be difficult to say. When it comes down to it, you’ll likely want to schedule a replacement as soon as possible to avoid a complete system breakdown.

Upgrade Your Water Heater with Bumble Bee Plumbing

As you can see, how long a water heater lasts depends on a variety of factors. If you think your home’s unit has surpassed the average life of water heaters, don’t hesitate to schedule a replacement. Contact Bumble Bee Plumbing today to learn more about our water heaters in Phoenix, AZ!

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