What is the typical lifespan of a water heater?
Although uncommon, some water heaters can last up to 15 years and sometimes 20 years. A standard water heater will last between eight and twelve years. The majority of tanks today are steel, lined with glass or porcelain. Over time most tanks will oxidize and deteriorate which produces a small peak – in some cases a disastrous leak. For this reason it is important to know where the water shutoff valve is located.
Keep in mind that most water heaters decrease in efficiency as a result of sediment build-up, even if it is still working.
Note – tankless water heaters can last 2 to 3 times longer than the traditional tanks, provided the owner cares for the unit properly.
5 Ways to Help Prolong Your Water Heater’s Useful Life
A few things that can extend your water heater’s life:
- Install a 2nd Anode Rod: The anode rod is a sacrificial rod made of magnesium or aluminum that undergoes galvanic corrosion over time; thereby sacrificing itself and preventing corrosion of the tank.
- Install an Expansion Tank: When water is heated from 50º to 120º, it expands by approximately 2% (a 50 gallon tank will produce 1 gallon of additional volume). If your system is closed (a valve which prevents your water from back flowing into the water main), this water has nowhere to go. Because water is not a particularly compressible material, it will cause rapid increases and decreases in water pressure. This expanding and contracting causes stress on both your water heater and your plumbing system which can cause damage and premature failure. Installing an expansion tank can potentially double the life of your water heater
- Clean or flush out the tank: For older tanks, flushing out the tank annually can help prevent sediment buildup and helps maintain an efficient tank for longer. Newer model water heaters are self-cleaning.
- Install a Pressure Regulating Valve (PRV): High water pressure (above 90 PSI) can damage your appliance and can also cause your water heater to prematurely fail. The PRV will reduce the system pressure. It is recommended to install an Expansion Tank if you have a PRV
- Install a water softener: Water with high concentrations of minerals (commonly known as “hard water”) causes scaling – a precipitation of minerals deposited onto surfaces of an appliance. Scaling reduces the efficiency of the appliance and can increase the use of electricity.